DECLAN BROOKS: Reflecting on Olympic BMX Bronze | Ride UK BMX

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DECLAN BROOKS: Reflecting on Olympic BMX Bronze

Declan Brooks is a man we’re proud of.  We’ve long been fans of his riding, his approach to contests and the trick choices he makes.  All that and we’re always entertained by his character – Dec’s a pleasure to be around.

Dec’s performance at Tokyo 2020 was everything we hoped for, and more.  He laid down such a storm of a run, with most of the pack still yet to ride, his score stood true and earned him third place.  That doesn’t happen all that often in normal contests, so it was a nerve wracking experience waiting and watching it unfold at the bloody Olympics!

Now that the media storm has died down a little, we caught up with Dec all about life as an olympian. With some photos from the games by Hikaru Funyu and from a meet & greet at Asylum Skatepark by Adam, read on for a peek into medalist life…

Tokyo photos by Hikaru Funyu
Asylum photos by Adam Lievesley

Q&A with Declan Brooks

– Has it sunk in yet?

The last 2 months, still very surreal to be honest. This new life is starting to sink in and I’m really enjoying it, haha.

– What’s life been like since winning the bronze medal? Try and sum it up…!

It’s been pretty crazy. Getting invites to a lot of events that BMX riders generally don’t get invited to. We’re just lapping it all up, me and Charlotte. Anything that comes our way we’re doing it. Not ridden a whole lot to be fair, a few shows here and there but nothing crazy.

– What feels different now?

I knew the Olympics was the biggest competition of all time. But I still don’t really think I thought about how much it would change my life and the way people perceive me. I’ve done a whole lot of events in the past 2 months and as soon as you have the Olympian status and even medal status you’re put onto a whole different level and people respect what you’ve done. Not that people didn’t respect what BMX riders did before but I think we’ve put it on the worldwide map now and everyone knows what BMX actually is.

– What feels the same?

Going to the park and having a session. I love that it’s the same, so when I start riding and training again in October I can fully focus on riding BMX again.

– What have been the coolest things you’ve done since the Olympics?

It’s been amazing to be invited to lots of events and mix with some celebrities. To hear their stories about how much people loved watching BMX is just amazing. We got to go and watch England play and we were hosted in the royal box… The Hundred cricket event invited us to a box to watch that also. Just some really cool experiences and days out!

Fronty over the spine in Tokyo

“It was just weird to see a thousand people lining the streets outside my parents’ home in Portsmouth. I’ve not seen anything like it”

– What have been the weirdest things you’ve done since the Olympics?

It’ll have to be the parade when I first got home from the games. It was just weird to see a thousand people lining the streets outside my parents’ home in Portsmouth. I’ve not seen anything like it.

– Does it feel good to have some normal BMX sessions again? Or are you keen to get back into contest mode soon?

I’ll start riding again properly after I get home from a holiday I’m on this week. That’ll be the break and chill I’ve needed then it’s time to get back into competition mode. I have no comps planned this year though so I’ll just be riding and getting my tricks back and hopefully some new ones ready for the 2022 season.

– Going into the next big contests, how do you feel about your riding?

I feel like my competition riding has been great the whole of 2021. I levelled up in 2020 but there hasn’t been much for me to prove myself week in week out. So I’m looking forward to that next year.

– Let’s talk about your run in Tokyo. Was that the dream run you planned out, or was there anything else you wanted in there?

There were 2 things I would have wanted to add. But to be honest they were both at the end of my run and I didn’t have it in the tank to get it out… Well, I didn’t think I did hence I didn’t go for it. But I’m very happy with the results so I wouldn’t change anything that happened that day.

– From our perspective it was a classic Declan Brooks run, full of power and original lines and all your best tricks, basically. We thought you did yourself justice! Would you agree?

100% nail on the head. It was pretty perfect in my opinion to what I wanted to achieve. I didn’t miss a beat and my landings were all on point so I could execute my run exactly how I wanted.

Back on familiar ground, at Asylum skatepark

“BMX has given me a lifetime of memories and it will continue to give me more”

– Had you done that exact run on the Team GB olympic course before the event? How did you put it all together?

Yes. I did the same run several times in the week leading into the games. It took me a week or so to build it and see what worked and what didn’t. I’m super thankful British Cycling put up the cash for the replica course and it paid off.

– How did you prepare your fitness for a run of that intensity?

I’m always pretty conditioned to contest riding anyway and keep myself in good shape. But we did some fitness work practicing different runs in the month leading into the games. Everything we did like nutrition, recovery, sessions were in order to ride as well as possible in Tokyo.

– Give us a message for anyone who’s inspired to start riding from seeing your performance in Tokyo.

BMX has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me (don’t tell my girlfriend 😜).  It’s given me a lifetime of memories and it will continue to give me more. I didn’t get into the sport for anything else other than I just enjoyed it and took it from there. Just enjoy your ride, people.

Thanks 😄

More with Declan Brooks on Ride UK:


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