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Freestyling Tokyo

In Buzz, June 2021 by Tracy Jones1 Comment

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Local athlete prepares for Olympic glory.

Olympic BMX freestyle will be making its debut in Tokyo this year, and local athlete Nikita Ducarroz is preparing to take on the challenge.

A new Triangle resident, Swiss-American Ducarroz relocated to Holly Springs from San Diego and has been training in her athletic “bubble” since last year. Now, with competitions ramping back up again and the Olympics right around the corner, Ducarroz—who will join the Swiss team—is settling back into the swing of competing.

“This past year was the first time in our careers that we had this uninterrupted time to focus only on training and learning new things without too much  fear of getting hurt,” says Ducarroz of her time training at the Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex in Holly Springs. 

Although Olympic BMX racing has been around since Beijing in 2008, the new freestyle event will give athletes 60 seconds to perform tricks and skills, adding some flair to the Ariake Urban Sports Park, also home to BMX racing and skateboarding.

Ducarroz, who received her first BMX bike in the summer of 2010, enjoys the challenge of competitions and is simply trying to stay healthy, stay on her bike, and dial into the last few things she needs to dial into before she fully gets back into competing. And getting back into the sport has not always been easy for her.

“There’s definitely a little bit of an adjustment just being in one place for so long when we’re used to moving, moving, moving all the time,” says Ducarroz of the difference from a normal competition year.

“And, for me, I have a lot of anxiety and panic about traveling and even just going out and doing things outside of my house. To not be in that routine of doing things made it harder once we were able to start going out and traveling again, and set me back a little bit, but, other than that, I’d say it was almost a blessing in disguise.”

Ducarroz has struggled with anxiety, depression and panic attacks throughout most of her life, and has credited BMX riding for pulling her out of it. Through her professional platform, Mind Tricks (@m1ndtricks)—a safe place for both athletes and nonathletes to discuss difficult issues—she shares those struggles with the world in hopes of helping others who may be going through mental health issues as well.

“Anybody can share their stories about mental health, and the goal is basically to encourage them to feel OK about it,” says Ducarroz. “Hopefully other people will read it and see that even professional athletes whom they really look up to—who seem to have a perfect life—struggle with the same things that they struggle with—and that’s OK.” 

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