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Local Olympic Athlete Spotlight: Northeast Ohio's Nick Bruce to compete in new BMX Freestyle event at Tokyo Olympics

The Hubbard native has been preparing for his first trip to the Olympic Games by training in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — Among the new events taking place at the Tokyo Olympics will be BMX Freestyle. And a Northeast Ohio native has his eyes set on winning the first gold medal in the event. 

Nick Bruce is from Hubbard in Trumbull County, but does his training in Cleveland. He's been in love with biking every since he was a young boy.

"My earliest memory of riding a bike is my brother taking off my training wheels on my little 12-inch Batman bike and he pushed me down our driveway hill," Bruce recalls. "And, that was the first day I rode without training wheels and I've been in love with it ever since."

The love affair with riding a bike caused Bruce to put his college education at Youngstown State University on hold to pursue a professional BMX career. "I was traveling way too much and I had to skip way too many classes where it didn’t even make sense to go to college anymore," Bruce says. Once he won a Free Flow amateur series event in Ocean City, MD at the age of 21, Bruce never looked back. 

For those who are new to BMX Freestyle, Bruce explained what to watch for when he competes at the Tokyo Olympics. "In BMX Freestyle, we are given one minute to attack a course, all these different ramps and obstacles and we have to do our hardest and most difficult tricks to perform them and execute them perfectly so that we can land with speed. And the judges are really looking for the overall usage of the course." 

After a successful career competing on the BMX professional circuit, Bruce understands the magnitude of potentially winning gold in Tokyo. "A gold medal would just mean the world. Just a nice way to seal the deal of all this hard work and energy, blood, sweat and tears put into this sport. Just having that, you just hit the pinnacle of sports really, that would really be a huge honor. I think that would just mean the world to me."

Watch our interview with Nick Bruce in the player below:

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