Salt Lake City’s Kelley one of top BMX riders his age in nation
Cody Kelley isn’t old enough to drive, but at this point, his bike could take him farther than his car.
At only 15 years old, Kelley, who is from Salt Lake City, can already claim to be one of the top BMX racers his age in the nation.
Racing in this weekend’s ABA BMX Mile High National at the Mesa County Fairgrounds,
Kelley is currently eighth in points in the USA Cycling Junior Development Series, a series that will eventually send riders to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., and eventually to the 2016 Olympics.
“I think it’s fantastic. It’s once in a lifetime.” said Pam Kelley, Cody’s mother. “It’s been his goal ever since they said it was going to go the Olympics.”
Cody will be the first to admit that it hasn’t been an easy path. According to Cody, he spends three hours a day, three to four times a week on his bike.
“I’ve had to train a lot. I’ve had to earn what I’ve gotten,” Cody said.
Luckily, Cody loves the competition and accountability that comes with a solo sport.
“If you lose, it’s your fault,” Cody said. “I tried team sports, but it didn’t work out for me. If I lose at something, I want it to be my fault not everybody else’s.”
The Development Series is open for any bikers who are 14 or 15 years old.
“Anybody is eligible to come out,” said Bernard Anderson, the chief executive officer for the American Bicycle Association. “If they think they have what it takes to become a BMX Olympian, they’re able to hop on a bike and try it.”
According to Anderson, the development series started earlier this year with a race in Salt Lake City and will finish in Reno, Nev., in September. The top eight placing male riders and top four female riders will receive automatic invites to a week-long camp in October, although officials within the sport are also taking four more of each gender alongside the top placers for a total of 12 males and eight females.
“The only way to participate in the Olympics in 2016 is through this series,” Anderson said.
“You’ve got to qualify through this series to go to the high level performance training at the training center. There are four camps per year. We’re just trying to get ahead of the ballgame for 2016.”
Although some people worry the pressure of being an Olympian is too much for someone so young, it’s something Pam Kelley doesn’t worry about.
“He wants to do it,” Pam said, “This is his choice, so there’s no pressure. It’s him wanting to go for it.”