Today marks five years since the passing of Steve Smith, the legendary Canadian downhill racer, and inspiration to so many Canadian mountain bikers.
Smith launched from being a force on the Canadian scene to the international spotlight in 2010. Smith won silver in the elite men’s downhill world championships at home in Canada at Mont-Sainte-Anne that year.
Smith’s legacy was cemented in 2013. The Vancouver Island racer dominated the season, winning three downhill World Cup’s, including at home in Canada at Mont-Sainte-Anne. Smith’s season-long battle with Gee Atherton culminated in the Canadian winning the World Cup overall title.
No one would doubt that Smith’s legacy will remain substantial and long-lasting. In downhill racing alone, Smith’s impact can be seen here in the resurgence of Canadian downhill racing, at home and on the international scene. It’s not just his Vancouver Island training partner, Mark Wallace who is finding success. Long-time friend Miranda Miller has cited Smith’s impact on her career, including her 2017 downhill world championship title. Smith’s influence can also be seen in the current crowd of junior and young elite riders from around B.C. pushing into the top levels of World Cup mountain biking.
Smith’s legacy lives on beyond the racecourse. His infectious enthusiasm for riding continues to inspire riders at all levels of the sport. In his home town of Nanaimo, B.C., the Steve Smith Memorial bike park provides an easily accessible opportunity for local riders of all abilities to engage with the sport.
On the anniversary of his passing, we return to Smith’s friend Rob Parkin’s moving tribute to the iconic Canadian rider: