Words: Miljan Milekić
FISE World Series 2016 champion, 4-time X Games silver medalist, and Pannonian Challenge winner two years in a row, Logan Martin is arguably the best BMX rider in the world. At only 23, the future is still in front of him. Despite his huge success, the young Australian is one of the most humble and most hard-working guys around. We caught up with him in Osijek, Croatia, just before he took the Pannonian Challenge title for the second time.
P.S. The rain didn’t stay away, but it wasn’t too bad, either.
This is your second time in Osijek. How do you like the town and the contest?
Logan: I enjoyed it last year. It’s like an old school town, and it’s really cool. I had fun at the park last year, it’s a good park, and I have nothing on this weekend, so I figured out to come back this year. I had fun riding the park for the last couple of days too, so it’s gonna be great.
You came here as the best BMX rider in the world. When you are going into some contest, do you have any pressure from your previous success?
Logan: There’s always pressure – I am the guy to beat, but I don’t really let it get to me. I come to every contest just trying to do the best I can do. Leading up to each event I put in work back home, I make sure I’m feeling good on my bike. All I can do is come here and ride how I wanna ride. A lot of times it pays off, and I am thankful for that.
When you go to the contest, you have the toughest opponent – you have to beat yourself and your previous rides. How do you maintain to improve and make it better every time?
Logan: That just goes with how much work you put in back home. Each event is different because there are different riders, different courses, different organizations, and all that. I just ride a lot when I am back home, make sure I am feeling comfortable on my bike, and try to learn new stuff. If I feel good at the contest, then I will do a new trick. Feeling good on my bike, riding a lot back home, eating healthy, going to the gym, and doing what I do every day, it’s all I can do, and it makes me feel good at the contest.
A few days ago, BMX was announced as an Olympic sport for 2020. How do you feel about it, how do you see it, and is it a motivation for you to be there?
Logan: I think BMX going into Olympics is amazing for the sport. BMX freestyle as a whole is gonna get more exposure. For me to potentially go to the Olympics is unbelievable. Growing up watching the Olympics and all that stuff is super cool and to possibly be there in Tokyo in 2020 is a crazy feeling. I am definitely motivated; I am always motivated anyway to work towards what I want to achieve. That is just another goal on the list – to get there and do well. So, for the next three years, I’ll be working as hard as I have been working for the last five.
There are X Games, FISE World Series, both BMX and skateboarding at Olympics, also a lot more contests that are bringing urban sports to the people who weren’t really into it before. Can you rate the difference between the period when you were starting and now? Do you think that young people are more exposed now and do you think it will benefit the sport in the future?
Logan: I think it’s gonna benefit, I don’t see why it would not benefit really. When I first started, it was literally just going out to hang at the skatepark. Guess society did not look at the people at skateparks as they are doing the right thing. They saw us like thugs doing bad things. But what it really is, kids just having fun with their bikes, scooters, skateboards, whatever. Nowadays it’s become more of a legit sport, so it’s looked upon by society a lot better than it used to back in the days when I started. And now, entering the Olympics, I think it’s only gonna be better.
Tokyo 2020 will also include a girl event. Together with FISE World Series that also features girls’ events, do you think it gives a new chance for improvement of BMX as a sport and gives more motive to girls to get into this kind of sport?
Logan: It’s definitely good to see the girls participating in the contests. There are a few girls that actually stand out, that ride really well at each event. It is good exposure; it’s gonna make more girls wanna participate in freestyle BMX. And for them to be at the Olympics is amazing, that’s what they are working towards now as well.
For you, what was the turning point when you decided or knew that BMX is what you want to do, and what you can do in your life?
Logan: It’s a hard question to answer, really. Of course, when I first started it was just hanging out with my friends, learning new tricks with them, and just progressing and progressing. And it never really stopped, I’ve just kept progressing and progressing and progressing, so I got to the point where I was like – “I could probably go and ride a contest.“ So I tried to go overseas, I went overseas and started riding them. And when I started winning these events, I was like, “I can seriously do well in this sport.“ So then it never really stopped, I kept progressing, kept working hard towards doing better at each event. So that’s how it happened for me, it happened over time. It wasn’t just like – “Oh, today I’m gonna work towards being a BMX rider,“ it just happened over time with progression.
You are a very successful rider, but you are still young and haven’t been on the scene for long. When you first got to bigger events, how was it for you to go against riders you were watching on TV when you were younger, and looking up to them?
Logan: The first proper event that I rode was FISE Montpellier. Actually, I rode Simple Sessions a few months before, but the FISE was the first I won. I didn’t go there being like – “Oh, I’m gonna win this, I’m gonna beat all these top dudes.“ I literally went there to do what I do every day. I just wanted to go there, put on some clean runs, and that’s exactly what I do at every contest. I just go there to do runs I wanna do. And in Montpellier it just paid off, I guess. I landed the runs I wanted to do, and I won the contest. I didn’t think of it like – “Oh, I don’t know, if I can beat that guy ‘cuz he’s on the scene for longer.“ I just want to do the best I can. And it worked, so that’s what I do at every event – I just try to do the best I can do.
You came practically from nowhere a few years back and got into the big league. How did it change you, your life, and your lifestyle?
Logan: When I first got into the contest scene in 2013 I started competing quite a bit. And I won quite a few events in a row, so I guess, other riders started looking at me as a competition because of it. And from there I started thinking of it as a sport, I guess. I’ve put in the work, I stopped drinking alcohol and partying, I just solely focused on what I need to do. And I got to where I am.
You are present on pretty much every social media and you are constantly posting stuff and interacting with your fans. How important for you is to stay connected to your fans?
Logan: I just like showing people what I do every day. To get good feedback from all the people that follow my stuff is awesome. When I first started BMX, I didn’t think I would have so many people liking the things I do. I guess it’s humbling in a way to get such a good response. I just like showing them what I do and I’m stoked that they enjoy it. Positive feedback gives me more motivation, I wanna go and film better clips each day because everyone is enjoying it, they give me good feedback, and it just works like that.
How much do music and crowd influence your riding, or do you turn yourself off from your surroundings?
Logan: The music is not a big factor but to have something nice playing in the background is good. To have a beat that I like in the background is good, but I don’t generally listen to it when I’m riding. I just zone out and focus on what I’m doing. And the crowd definitely pumps you up. When you hear the crowd cheering it just gives you more adrenaline, makes you wanna ride better and do better, because they like what you do as well.
So, one last – how much do you hate rain? (laugh)
Logan: A lot! (laugh) It definitely doesn’t help events. I hope it stays away today, but the wind is not a good factor either. But I think we’ll be okay.
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