He may look old by action sports standards, but BMX Freestyle rider Daniel Dhers is still up there with the best. The Venezuelan is 37 years old, nine years older than Chiba X Games winner Logan Martin and 17 years older than the youngest participant, Nakamura Rim.
While many of his rivals regard Dhers as an idol, they also see him as a threat. Because in this sport, Dhers has already seen and done everything. The ‘Godfather of BMX’ claimed his first five X Games gold medals in 2007 and has since racked up titles.
Last year he achieved the silver medal at Tokyo 2020, in his sport’s Olympic debut; a feat he never thought he would accomplish in his career. “At this point, I really enjoy challenging the new guys. It keeps me motivated and helps me keep progressing” – Daniel Dhers in an interview with Red Bull
The power of an Olympic medal
Dhers, who lives in the United States, is more than ready to stay competitive. His age alone means that he has to pay extra attention when it comes to pushing his body to the limit, but he continues to show his strength training on social networks to attest that he is still in shape.
This is how he expressed it in the interview for Red Bull: “It definitely takes a lot of work. I get on the bike every day and take care of my body by training strength and working on resistance in the gym.”
“Cycling has always been my biggest priority, and my day revolves around it, so everything I do is to maintain myself and improve.”
In addition to being motivated by his younger rivals, Dhers is also looking forward to representing his country, especially after taking silver in Tokyo, behind only Logan Martin.
After being part of Venezuela’s record-breaking participation in the Games, led by triple jump superstar Yulimar Rojas, the BMX legend returned home to celebrate his success.
As his sport was considered by some to be in the minority, Dhers had modest expectations for his welcome. But when he landed in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, he realized how much the Olympic medal and his efforts meant to his nation.
He was greeted by a large banner with his face on it, and the arms of an entire nation were open for him. From the airport, Dhers’ victory lap began as he traveled from city to city, with fans everywhere reveling in his success.
Dhers’ itinerary included a tour of the capital, with legions of fans joining him, and a visit to the neighborhood of Cota 905, where he showed off some of his tricks.
Then Dhers admitted how happy he was to be there. “I know how happy sports can make a country that is constantly facing problems, so it means a lot to be able to contribute a little bit to that happiness,” he said.
Later, he visited Tachira in December, where the neighbors made a 10-meter-high figure with his image, as part of the New Year’s celebrations.
There was even a stop at Angel Falls.
During his journey, Dhers strongly encouraged children and youth across the country to get involved in sports using his example to show what is possible if you work hard and love what you do.
And it is certainly an example. Because when he first got on a bike at four years old, he fell off and started hating two wheels. But at the age of 12, his passion for BMX flared up, so much so that his family almost had to ban him because he was skipping class just to ride.
In 2003 his love story seemed to end, when he had a serious back injury before the X Games in Brazil. “It was a very disappointing moment. I was in so much pain that I thought about retiring,” he said.
However, he got back on a bike… and the rest is history. During his tour of Venezuela, the action sports star used the attention the Olympics brought him to inspire those around him.
At the same time, this inspired him to keep going.
By Chloe Merrell, olympic.com