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    90s Kids: The BMX Cyclist

    Zhang Zhiyong hopes to promote the sport of BMX to a younger generation of Chinese.

    Zhang Zhiyong, 22, describes himself as having been a very active person since he was a little boy. ‘Normal’ sports did little to attract him. After he tried bicycle motocross, or BMX, in sixth grade, he felt that he had finally found value in life. The sport gives him a sense of accomplishment, especially as he lands the bike after soaring through the air. At 17, he had already become a national champion.

    BMX has a large following of fans overseas, but it’s still a minor sport in China. Because of the disparity, Zhang describes himself as a promoter of the sport. He spent all of his prize money from competitions to open a BMX shop in Shenzhen, in southern China’s Guangdong province. By doing so, he is putting his faith in more Chinese wanting to get to know the sport.

    Although BMX may look dangerous, Zhang believes that a calm demeanor is the rider’s key to success. As you soar through the air, he says, you have to make every second count as if it were three seconds: Thoroughly consider what to do, execute it correctly, and land flawlessly. Zhang often feels he is one with his bike. “When you close your eyes and spin the handlebars,” he says, “you should know exactly where they will stop.”