Red Deer BMX racer Molly Simpson is hoping to one day bring home Olympic gold for Canada.
The 14-year-old athlete recently received a grant from the Red Deer Games Foundation (RDGF) to help fund her journey; a journey that began when an elder cousin encouraged her to try out the sport at a young age.
“My cousin was ranked second in the world and he told me to try it. Everything clicked from there,” she said.
Simpson started to receive some of the best coaching in the world from right in Red Deer when a coach from Red Deer BMX got her hooked on competitive racing.
“It all started out when Randy Hall got us on a bike and taught us how to do all of the stuff. After that I went onto the Alberta team and Justin Tuchscherer really taught me how to add skills into the racing,” she said.
Simpson, despite her young age, has rapidly become one the best BMX racers in Canada – winning the provincial championship four times and also winning a National Championship for her age group.
She will be competing at the Canada Cup this summer, as well as representing Canada at the BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
“It is a week-long event. There are practice days and you race on one big day. There are riders from all over the world. It is really competitive there,” she said.
Simpson has the luxury of training and competing with high-class BMX athletes in Red Deer, which is sending 21 racers to the World Championships.
“I train everyday and it has been really good for me” she said. “I compete against girls and guys but at big races it is usually girls. Here in Red Deer I race against boys.”
She added the sport has given her the opportunity to travel and compete all over the world and almost every single weekend, most recently at an event in Langley B.C.
While some people confuse BMX racing with other BMX trick sports, Simpson explained that the difference is quite clear.
“Racing is more competitive, whereas in trick BMX you are styling. Racing is all about wanting to go fast,” she said.
Going fast is Simpson’s focus and she has modelled her BMX career off of pro BMX racer Caroline Buchanan, who is one of the fastest racers in the world.
“She is a ‘crazy fast’ pro. That is who I want to be,” she said.
To reach that level of racing, Simpson is prioritizing her goals to stay ahead of her training.
“I’m starting to pull ahead of the other girls. I want to continue to pull away and get really fast,” she said. “My long-term goal is to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal. My short term goal is to get on the national team.”
She added she hopes that she will be able to represent Alberta at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
The grant from the RDGF will go a long ways towards her goals, according to Simpson.
“It helps us with the money and allows us to get to races – which is awesome,” she said. “I would like to thank the Games Foundation for the grant and my family for supporting me.”
Despite the higher stakes of competitive racing, the sport remains fun for Simpson.
“I like how competitive it is and I like the jumping – it is really fun,” she said.