In 2014 Sam Willoughby claimed his third World Championship, bringing home another Gold Medal in the Elite Men’s Final in Rotterdam, confirming yet again that he is the man to beat in the BMX world.
In 2008 at the age of 17, Willoughby took out his first Junior World Title in China. The year also saw Willoughby record wins in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, all while completing his year 12 studies. In 2009 Willoughby returned to Adelaide to defend his title in front of his home crowd. He did not disappoint and in doing so became the first rider in the history of the sportto win back-to-back Junior World Titles. In fact, Willoughby is the only rider ever to win two titles in the junior division.
Four months on, Willoughby would again create history by accruing the most points across the Elite Men’s season. Sam stunned the BMX world by beating a field including Olympic Champion Maris Strombergs in his first year as an elite rider. April 2011 saw his return to Australia, winning the BMX Australia National Championship Finals – his first elite crown. His great form throughout the 2011 season helped lift Australia to the highest ranked BMX nation in the world. In May 2012, Sam took out the 2012 World Championships in Birmingham. 2013 saw Sam competing on the USA National circuit, winning 19 of the 24 events – including a record of 13 straight wins through the middle of the season. Sam went into the 2016 Rio Olympics as one of the favouritesclocking some of the fastest times in the heats, but a slight hickupon the first jump pushed Sam well back in the field and he was unable to make up the lost positions finishing in 6th place.
In September 2016, Sam suffered a horrific spinal injury while competing in the US. Initially, Sam was paralyzedfrom the chest down however his recovery has been excellent, most recently filming his success in walking and stationary cycling. Whilst Sam’s racing career has presumably ended, he notes that ‘it puts things into perspective.’ A tragic end for what was an incredibly exciting career.
We are delighted Sam has made significant inroads to his recovery and continue to wish him well in his continued development.