BMX hasn’t lost its popularity for several years – since the 1970s it has been infecting successive generations of young people with its popularity. This discipline will also be played at this year’s European Games, in which the best riders from all over Europe will take part. Sports support will be provided to them by Brett Banasiewicz himself – a top and professional BMX rider from the USA, who…has polish roots.
Brett Banasiewicz began his adventure with the sport at a very young age. At just 13 years old he became a professional BMX rider, who over the years accumulated on his account more and more achievements. Unfortunately, the 18-year-old’s good streak in his BMX career was interrupted by an unfortunate accident he suffered in 2012. Despite the fact that the accident left permanent damage in his body and prevented him from continuing his professional career, today he continues his hobby. He talks about the unlucky day that ended his sports career for several years, his recovery and his polish roots in an interview.
You found yourself among the best BMX riders when you were just 13 years old, and you were first sponsored at 8 years old. How did this whole BMX adventure start for you?
Brett Banasiewicz: When I was younger I really wanted to go out and hang out with my brother and his friends. Maybe 6 or 7 years later, when I was a little older, I wanted to ride bikes with them in and around our neighborhood, and that’s pretty much how it started.
When did fun and pleasure turn into your profession?
Going out on bikes with my brother and his friends, I just wanted to impress them, so I started doing different tricks, and they evolved and evolved. I think this has already given me a substitute for what I want to do in life.
If we asked you about the thing you love most about BMX, what would you say?
I think mainly that BMX gives me so much joy. When I ride, I forget about everything else, about the worse moments in my life. I just feel so comfortable.
You were one of the best riders when that fateful day came. Can you tell us what happened? What stopped your BMX career and made you have to fight for your life?
Unfortunately, I suffered a very serious brain injury during the accident. I got bleeding and blood entered the brain.
Which trick did you perform then and where did it take place? Was it during some competition?
I was doing a 720 on the beach and it’s possible that the wind pushed me off the ramp at that time. It happened in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Yes, it was a competition by Vans , specifically the LXVI BMX Invitational.
What was more difficult for you – physical or mental recovery?
I think mental recovery because, for example, I knew how to do everything on the bike and I knew how to express myself, how to speak, but my mental just wasn’t there, in its place. I kept pushing myself forward and was angry with myself for not being able to fix it quickly.
When you resumed your career after the accident, did you expect that you would still be able to return to BMX? How long has it been since the accident when you first got on your bike?
As I said, my bike gives me happiness and comfort. I couldn’t imagine giving up what I love for good. The first time I got back on my bike, I felt like I never had anything else. I think I returned to riding after about a year.
How do you feel today? Do you still have any problems with recovery? We’ve heard that sometimes you feel better on the bike than on your own feet.
That’s true, because when I walk, I look like I’ve had a bit to drink. I’m also still recovering my voice. The accident made me forget a lot of things, and I’m still working on it – on my whole self.
You are visiting Poland right now, and we know that you have polish roots. What is your family history? Are you looking for any distant relatives here in Poland? Maybe you know exactly where they came from and where they lived?
I’m not looking for relatives, I’m looking for the , “background” of my family, like the villages I grew up in or the culture I grew up in. I know that my relatives lived in some village near Kielce.
We found information on a website that you are thinking about moving to Poland and getting involved in a polish BMX team. Is this true?
Yes. I would really like, if not to move, then to come to Poland more often and help some riders learn tricks or create rides and other things. I want to visit Poland more often and teach my charges more things.
So what role do you see yourself in here in Poland?
I wouldn’t say necessarily a coach, but a teacher, maybe a mentor.
Have you heard about the European Games? They will be held in Poland this year.
Yes, I have heard.
And would you like to come?
Of course. I would like to come and I will come! I will be there!
If you got involved in Polish BMX as a coach, teacher, mentor, what would be your dream, what would you like to achieve?
I’d like to see the riders achieve their happiness on the bike, and I’d like to see them compete and do well in competitions, so that at the end of the day they’re happy with what they’ve done.