Redline BMX race team rider Sam Willoughby turned pro a mere three years ago. In the time since Willoughby made the switch, he moved to the U.S., won the ABA pro title in 2010, placed second at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup earlier this year, and in June, became the 2012 UCI BMX World Champion.
Following the UCI BMX World Championships in Birmingham, UK, Willoughby was announced as part of the Team Australia BMX race crew for the 2012 London Games, joining Caroline Buchanan, Khalen Young, Brian Kirkham, Lauren Reynolds and National Team coach, former BMX race pro Wade Bootes.
According to BMX Australia, "Having returned to Australia after stage one of the preparations in Utah, the team is enjoying training on the Gold Coast and on the BMX Supercross track at the Sleeman Sports Complex."
The team is also making the press rounds. Earlier this month, Willoughby appeared on Australia's version of The Today Show, as well as ESPN's "Aussies Abroad" series.
For Sam Willoughby, whose sponsors include Redline Bicycles, Coca-Cola, Nike, Tioga, Sun Ringle, Kool Stop, Pryme, TLD and Oakley, the road to the Olympic Games started at age six. "I was a pretty driven individual, and I liked the individual aspect of BMX. I could take it as seriously as I wanted to, and everything was up to me," says Willoughby about his formative days.
Willoughby continued on this path through his teenage years, eschewing the typical life of a teenager for strength training.
At age 17, Willoughby traveled to the U.S. to pursue his race career. Naturally, there was a period of adjustment. Before, Sam Willoughby was consistently in the front of the pack, and after the move to the U.S., he was struggling to maintain his position amid the pack against seasoned pro racers with more experience on the track.
In 2010, Willoughby returned to the U.S. to stay with his girlfriend, fellow Redline Bicycles team rider Alise Pose (also a member of Team USA in 2012) with a fresh perspective on BMX. According to Willoughby, he accepted the fact that he had to step up. "I'm not a kid, and I had to learn to not throw in the towel when things don't go right," he said. That year, Sam Willoughby won the coveted ABA National Number One pro title.
Now 20, Willoughby enters into next month's London Games aware that he needs confidence on his side. According to Willoughby, "You've got to be cocky at times. You've got to be able to look into the mirror and say 'I am the best.'"
In the above video, Sam Willoughby discusses his quest for Olympic gold, as well as the heritage of the Redline Bicycles brand he represents. Willoughby travels to London, UK to race the Olympic Games. BMX racing begins on August 8 at Olympic Park.