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Tory Nyhaug prepares for Rio Olympics

Canada's sole BMX rider for Rio is dialing in his form and enjoying the ride to his second games

Tory Nyhaug

Tory Nyhaug is currently topping off his preparations for the Rio Olympics in Chula Vista, California. The 25-year-old who calls Coquitlam, B.C. home is headed to his second Olympics are competing in London in 2012. Once again, he will be Canada’s sole representative in BMX at the Olympics.

Nyhaug has had international success in the past earning a gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am games in Toronto and a taking home a silver medal from worlds in 2014. The Olympics are a different beast and with a successful 2016 season so far, Nyhaug feels he will be int contention in Rio. “There is a pool of 20 guys where the podium usually comes from,” said Nyhaug. “There are so many fast guys that I just plan to go to Rio as best prepared as I can be and just go for it.”

That preparation starts with a rigorous training program that involves extensive work on the track and in the gym. “We train to be able to produce peak power right off the start. Having a good start is hugely critical and there is so little room for error that it’s extremely important to nail it,” explained Nyhaug. The challenges of the sport are also technical with riders hitting sweeping turns at top speed. “Having a clean run and holding overall speed around the track is extremely important. Courses are more technical so having a perfect lap is harder than ever.”

Nyhaug’s typical training session involved two and a half hours of work out on the track which includes sprints and half laps. BMX riders also do extensive gym who to get that explosive power that is so critical. Nyhaug started riding a bike at a young age and fell in love with BMX.

“I started riding a bike when I was very young, about two-years-old. My uncle knew about a local BMX track and he told me about it when I was about four-years-old so I went to try it out. I just loved it,” Nyhaug recalls.

Now a member of Team Canada, Nyhaug is one of many medal hopefuls Cycling Canada have selected to compete in Rio. “It’s cool to be part of the cycling team. I think in every discipline we have athletes that can do really well,” said Nyhaug. “It’s interesting going to these big multi-sport games cause I get to meet them. I follow a lot of the other athletes on Twitter but it’s cool to be able to meet them in person.”

Injuries in past years and heading into London have had an impact of Nyhaug’s preparation in the past. “BMX is such an up and down sport so you can’t get mad about a bad race,” Nyhaug said. It is also a fast-paced sport with little room for error but heading to Rio Nyhaug is healthy and looking forward to the competition ahead. The course he says, “is really fast and is fun to ride. I think it will be a good show for the Olympics. They will have it dialed for the big show so it will be really smooth and great to watch.”

On his Olympic ambitions, Nyhaug syas, “There are so many fast guys that I am just going to go into Rio as best prepared as I can be and just go for it.” BMX he says is such a fun sport that whether it’s training or in competition what’s important for him is just going out and having a good time. There is no doubt that he also believes he belongs in the conversation as a rider who will be in contention for a medal when the riders head down the start ramp.