Cyclingâ€™s youngest Olympic discipline inspires all generations, and the best among them battled for the world titles in their respective age groups in the days running up to the weekendâ€™s Elite competition.
Athletes taking part in the Challenge and Cruiser classes at the 2013 UCI BMX World Championships on Wednesday and Thursday represented 32 different countries. Here is what some of the youngest newly-crowned World Champions had to say:
Boys 7, Dane Morales (USA)
â€śI got it (the win) last year and I just really wanted to get it.â€ť
Girls 8, Leila Walker (New Zealand)
â€śWhen I grow up I want to go to the Olympics.â€ť
Boys 10, Jesse Asmus (Australia)
â€śIâ€™m stoked. My goal is to go to the Olympics when Iâ€™m older. But I want to win again next year.â€ť
Boys 11, Ryan Martin (England)
â€śYeah, when I crossed the line I thought I was going to ball in tearsâ€ť
â€śTo make the Olympics. To get a gold medal.â€ť
Girls 12, Jessie Smith (New Zealand)
â€śIt was really cool and itâ€™s a pretty good feeling. Going down that ramp gives you such an adrenaline rush.â€ť
Girls 13, Shelby Green (Australia)
â€śYeah, I was actually mind-shocked. I couldnâ€™t believe it... I was hoping to get top 3.... Iâ€™ve been training every day doing BMX, cycling, gym work, so everything.â€ť
Goals for the future?
Boys 14, Michael Gonzales (USA)
â€śItâ€™s the greatest feeling pretty much. I came over hoping I could do the best I could do and luckily I pulled off the win.â€ť
Girls 14, Saya Sakakibara (Japan)
â€śI really wanted to get in the finals this year because I crashed out in the semis last year. I was really happy to get first.â€ť
Photo: Two Australian riders in the Boys 12 category, Rhyder Kennedy (left) and Joel Grace battle it out in the semi-finals.