Ryan Nyquist: "The most embarassing moment of my career"

FUNSPORTING spoke to Ryan Nyquist about the upcoming X Games in Munich and the worst thing that ever happened to him in a contest.

Ryan Nyquist.  Foto: Christian Van Hanja / ESPN Images When did you first start riding BMX and when did you first participate in the X Games?
I began BMXing when I was 11 which is 23 years ago and my first X Games were in 1997 in San Diego. I missed the first two, but that 15 years of X Games, which is pretty cool.
Is an X Games Gold Medal the ultimate trophy for an action sports athlete or are there any other comparable contests?
A gold medal at the X Games is huge. If you can get a gold medal, that means so much. There are other events out there that are very valuable to win and it is all personal preference, but for me the X Games are the biggest. I mean I have a decent amount medals, but most are not golden. I would personally love to add a few more to my collection and I hope I can do that this year.
Ryan Nyquist.  Foto: Gabriel Christus / ESPN Images How has the sport progressed in recent years? Especially in contests?
The progression is constantly just going through the roof. There are always new tricks being brought up. There are always new riders coming through. So our sport is just constantly evolving, which is really exciting to see. Because I think if it was ever going to be stagnant then we would have to worry.Then we might have hit a ceiling as far as progression goes or people just aren’t that into it anymore.
BMX has progressed amazingly and especially in contests.The higher the stakes, the more people want to go out there and show their best tricks. When you have big contests like the X Games this summer, where it is going to be international with multiple stops all around the world it is going to make people try much harder. Because now, instead of once a year you will have four opportunities to get a medal. And X Games medals don’t come very easy.
Ryan Nyquist.  Foto: Matt Moring/ESPN Do you think it is the right time for the X Games to go global? Or should it have happened a couple of years ago?
It is hard to say. I think that obviously there are some intelligent people at X Games that have been talking about this for a long time and the fact that it is happening right now. I don’t know if it would have been better two years ago or if it would have failed, but I am just really very happy that it is happening now.
We have been travelling internationally with other events in the past. So maybe it is just taking this growth for people to really want it in other places beside the United States. I am excited to see what the turnout is going to be. I think there are going to be amazing crowds at all the stops. I am just anxious to kind of get it going and get out there. The European contest I have been to in the past have been nothing less than amazing. The crowds have been awesome. They are super excited just to be there, so I am expecting nothing less at the global tour.
Have you ever competed in Germany before? What do you think about the fans in Germany?
I have competed in Germany many times. Usually just in Cologne. There is a contest called the masters or the worlds. And every time that contest just feels like a festival. It is like a big party and everybody is just going nuts. Here in Munich I have heard nothing but good things and I expect that the crowd is just going to be just as excited. Not only are they getting X Games in their backyard, but they are getting the best of the best athletes coming here to compete for gold. When you have those kind of stakes on the line, you are almost guaranteed a good show.
Where do you think that BMX will be in ten year and where do you see yourself?
I think ten years from now BMX will still be around. Things will progress. The tricks will be crazier; the courses will be getting crazier. I don’t know exactly where it will be, but if you look ten years back, you would have thought that half the tricks being done today are impossible. So I imagine probably the same thing coming up. Definitively a whole different generation doing them, but just the wildest tricks you could ever imagine being pulled on a constant level
I would like to think that I will still be around. I don’t know if I will be competing, but it has been my life for so long, I just can’t imagine walking away from it. I am sure I will have my hand in something but I have no idea what that will be.
What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
If I share it, it can’t have been super embarrassing because I am speaking about it. But I will go for it anyway. I was at a competition in Denver and it happened, while I was riding. It was a dirt jump contest. And I was on the second of four jumps and I shit my pants in mid-air. I basically farted and shit myself.

Not only was I mid-air but I had two more jumps to go and had to continue on doing tricks while I knew that I had an accident. So I got done with the run and went to the outhouse and checked it out. Afterwards I had to ride the rest of the contest without any underwear on. In the end I won the contest, which was great.
But then afterwards there was another event. It was a team contest with three riders in a team and they all thought it would be a great idea if we did our runs in our underwear. And I had to say, well I can’t do that. And they were like why? And I had to say that I crapped my pants and had to take my underwear off. So that’s like the embarrassing story.
What does luxury mean to you?
Luxury to me it is not really a monetary thing. Luxury is just having the freedom to what I want in my life, which a lot of people can’t. Having the freedom to travel or my job being a BMX-Rider the freedom to do what I love for a living. To me that’s luxury. I don’t really care too much about fancy cars and stuff like that. I would rather live a full and great life.
Is there any person that you would like to change with for a day?
No I am pretty contempt with being me. I think. No, actually I would like to change with the president of the United States on a vacation day. So I still get to be the guy that everybody knows but at the same time I could just be chilling.

What do you do when you don’t ride your bicycle?
I am probably doing other things related to bicycles. Like answering emails or shooting videos. A lot of times I am just at home with my family like relaxing and enjoying the time. Probably just a little bit of everything. It’s funny that many people think, that I just ride every single day and that is all I do. But there is so much more involved in being a professional BMX-Rider. It is a full time job. There is never a time that I am just like ah I am going to watch like 90 episodes of my favorite TV show. That doesn’t happen. I am constantly moving and doing stuff.
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