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“I was a hyper child so BMX was suggested to me as something to do when I was four years old. It’s evolved into something bigger than I ever imagined,” Cailen Calkin recalls off his initial forays into BMX.
In October, Calkin (a product of Hamilton Boys’ High School) will head to Argentina to represent New Zealand at the Youth Olympics.
When did BMX become more than a purist to kill restlessness?
“The penny dropped at the Vector Arena in 2013. I won the World Championship Challenge beating about 100 riders,” Calkin recalls.
Calkin has beaten many more riders since. He won his first New Zealand title in 2012 and is currently a 10-time National Champion. He has now won three World Championships and aged 16, moved into the junior elite (Under-19) category, reaching the quarterfinals in his junior elite World Championship debut.
How does one prepare for 30 seconds of madness?
“I’m not sure, but I do a lot of gym work to build strength and energy. I also have a psychologist who helps me focus on perfecting my craft,” Calkin responds.
Calkin is a member of the Cycling New Zealand high performance programme and is one of five riders heading to the Youth Olympics. Calkin can’t wait for the experience.
“I’m not sure how I’ll go, but I’d like to thank my sponsors for helping me get there. In BMX anything can happen,” Calkin concludes.
Also in the New Zealand cycling team for the Youth Olympics:
DOB: 21 April 2001
Age: 17 years
Jessie is a multi-world champion in age groups (Challenge Class) over several years, winning the 14 years, 15 years and 16 years titles before moving to the junior elite (under-19 category). In her first year in the junior elite category, Jessie made it to the semi-finals, finishing ninth overall and missing out of the grand final by 0.1s. She is sponsored and mentored by London Olympic silver medallist, Sarah Walker.
DOB: 27 December 2001
Age: 16 years
Sammie Maxwell is a member of the Subway National Mountain Bike Performance Hub and won the New Zealand cross-country under-19 title this year. She is also an adept road and cyclocross rider.
DOB: 12 September 2000
Age: 17 years
Young is an excellent all-round cyclist who is the current Oceania under-19 mountain bike champion and runner-up in the under-19 mountain bike national championships. On the road she is the under-19 road cycling time trial national champion and was second in the Oceania Champs. She is a member of the Subway National MTB Performance Hub.
DOB: 29 July 2001
Age 16 years
Max won the 2017 current New Zealand mountain bike under-17 title and is currently a member of the Subway National Mountain Bike Performance Hub. He has enjoyed success as a road cyclist in school and age competitions.