A Maple Ridge coach is just back from his third straight Olympic games.
Adam Muys was in Tokyo with the Canadian BMX cycling team, and said Tokyo measured up well to his previous games, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was really cool going there, he said. “The experience there was just as good as anywhere. They did a wonderful job.”
He said the Canadian team felt safe because organizers were committed to COVID-19 protocols.
They got a chance to see some of the sights in Japan during a 2019 test event, but unfortunately missed the experience of watching other sporting events at the Olympics, because of the pandemic regulations.
They were a small team, with James Palmer of North Vancouver competing for the men, and Drew Mechielsen of Langley for the women.
“Drew had some really hard races to make the final,” he said. “And James had some good races too.”
Michelson advanced to the finals, and ultimately finished in eighth place. She learned after the event that she had been competing with a broken foot – an injury suffered in training.
Palmer did not advance past the quarter-finals, but finished fourth in his final heat.
Muys said his job at the Games is to offer them tips, and make sure they are mentally prepared.
“I try to keep them relaxed, like it’s a regular Tuesday practice, so they can go out there an perform like they need to perform.”
Originally from Hamilton, Muys moved to Maple Ridge in 2001, while he was still a BMX competitor. Some highlights of his career included winning the national championship in the cruiser class twice. He also took third at nationals on a 20-inch bike. He retired from elite competition after the 2007 world championships in Victoria.
In 2009 he started coaching, and by the London Olympics in 2012, he was Team Canada’s coach. He also led the team through the 2016 Games in Rio.
It’s his dream job – full-time coaching BMX athletes and building the national program.
Muys give the athletes an advantage he never had in coaching and training. When Muys was a competitor, the athletes were very much on their own in figuring out how to climb a podium.
“My training was embarrassing compared to what they do,” he said. “We just rode our bikes a lot.”
By comparison, today’s cyclists do Olympic lifts and other gym training at Trinity Western University, train regularly with their coaches at the Abbotsford track, and prepare like the international athletes they are.
The two Olympians will be at the Ridge Meadows BMX club on Aug. 10 to inspire the local kids. Palmer got his start with the local club when he was young.
“Both of them are coming out to Pitt Meadows on Tuesday, to celebrate with the club,” said Muys.
For his part, Muys will keep building the program, and has his sights set on the Paris Olympics in 2024.
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