Dorset Spotlight jumped at the chance to interview the Olympic Bronze medallist in BMX Freestyle – Declan Brooks.
On the 21st of December 2021, Declan, 25, will be coaching at the Christmas Camp hosted by Prevail Skatehouse in Poole; and will be joined by Red Bull sponsored athlete Kieran Reilly. An absolute treat for any BMX fan.
DS: Hi Declan, Thanks for chatting to Dorset Spotlight. We are big Olympic fans at Dorset Spotlight, and we tuned in every day to watch the different sporting events. One of the highlights for us was watching the BMX. Tell us how you started in BMX, and who inspires you now?
Declan: “I have been riding since I was 9-years-old, for 16 years now. My dad got me into it, and I have not looked back since. I love watching top-level sport and seeing people overcome things that should not be possible. I had many athletes in BMX who I looked up to when I was younger – now I compete against them. It is a dream come true for me.”
Declan nearly didn’t make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – which were postponed to 23rd July 2021 till 8th August 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
In June 2021, he spectacularly crashed at the World Championships in Montpellier, France. His double-backflip trick didn’t quite go to plan as Declan landed on his head and knocked himself unconscious.
DS: You were lucky to have not broken any bones. What happened? How did you feel after watching your run back? Did you lose your confidence, and if so, how did you get it back?
Declan: “I would be lying if I said that my confidence wasn’t knocked after that crash. It was one of the worst in my career – a month before the Olympic games. I had a massive task ahead to recover from a concussion and get confident with my bike and skills again. I knew I had to perform the double backflip again, so I had to have full commitment and confidence in my abilities.”
BMX freestyle was one of the new sports at this year’s Olympics. Declan was Team GB’s only male entry for the sport.
DS: What an incredibly proud moment it must have been to be part of the Team GB squad – especially after nearly missing out because of your accident. How did you deal with the pressure as the competition looked tough?
Declan: “To be selected was an absolute privilege. Team GB for me is the best team in the world. To represent my country on the biggest stage of all was epic.
Yes, the competition was tough but as it should be. The best in the world are competing so it’s never going to be an easy task. But I knew if I rode my best I’d have a chance….. and that’s all I needed. It was time to go for it.”
On day nine of the Olympic Games – the 1st of August 2021, at Ariake Urban Sports Park, Declan pulled off two front flips to win the bronze in his Olympic debut. An outstanding achievement.
DS: How did it feel to stand on the podium, knowing that you had done your country proud?
Declan: “Very surreal to be honest. You know you have a chance, but actually executing the plan and it coming true is the best feeling ever. I’m thankful to British Cycling and Team GB for putting their faith in me and my abilities to bring the country home a medal.”
Team GB took a medal in all four BMX events at the Summer Games with Charlotte Worthington, 25, winning Gold in the first Olympic women’s freestyle BMX competition. While Beth Shriever, 21, won Gold and Kye Whyte, 22, won silver in BMX racing.
Follow Declan on Instagram @declanbrooks and check out his website http://www.declanbrooksbmx.co.uk