An Olympic silver medallist and two-time BMX World Champion, Sam Willoughby has an inspirational story unlike any other Australian sportsperson.
Sam Willoughby was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. Showing great interest and determination in BMX racing from a young age, Sam took out his first Junior World Title in China in 2008. The year also saw Sam record wins across Australia, New Zealand and the United States, all while completing his year 12 studies. In April 2011, aged 19, Sam won the BMX Australia National Championship Final. His great form throughout the 2011 season helped lift Australia to the highest ranked BMX nation in the world. Sam’s transition to the senior ranks was complete, crowned UCI BMX World Champion. Months later, at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Sam fought his way through the heats and semi-finals to take home an historic silver medal, finishing less than half a second behind gold and becoming Australia’s first ever BMX Olympic medallist.
Sam went into the 2016 Rio Olympics as one of the favourites clocking some of the fastest times in the heats, but a slight hiccup on the first jump pushed Sam well back in the field and he was unable to make up the lost positions finishing in 6th place. At the top of his game one month after the Rio Olympics, Sam tragically suffered a horrific spinal injury putting an end to his sensational racing career. Initially, Sam was paralyzed from the chest down however his recovery since that moment has been nothing short of inspiring.
Through perseverance and determination, Sam was able to walk down the aisle to marry the love of his life, fellow Olympic BMX racer Alise Post, just over one year after his accident. Sam has since returned to the BMX track to coach Alise, who is the current world champion and medal favourites heading into the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
Embrace the Struggle