X Games BMX rider Dave Mirra, in memoriam
Dave Mirra, A Life
Dave Mirra, the versatile BMX freestyle rider who owned the most X Games medals in history through the summer of 2013, died on Thursday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police in Greenville, North Carolina. Mirra was 41.
The Miracle Man
"Dave Mirra, your courage, determination and natural skill in everything you pursued pushed the world of action sports to become a better place. From all of us at X Games and ESPN, we salute your contributions," ESPN said in a statement following the news.
Larger than life
In 2004, Mirra took double gold at X Games X in Los Angeles, becoming the most decorated athlete in the history of the X Games. From there, Mirra seemed unstoppable. He left Haro Bikes a year later, started his own bicycle brand, known as Mirraco, and pursued BMX Big Air in the X Games. In his final BMX appearance at X Games in 2008, Mirra earned a bronze medal in BMX Big Air.
Mirra in Philadelphia, 2001
In the early 2000s, Dave Mirra's name became synonymous with the sport of BMX riding in the X Games. Mirra collected gold medal after gold medal, and his riding pushed the sport of BMX into the mainstream. Mirra collected new sponsorships from brands such as Slim-Jim and Adidas, and wracked up a huge collection of BMX magazine covers.
An X Games regular
Mirra's career trajectory continued throughout the early 2000s, releasing a signature shoe with DC Shoes, appearing in endemic BMX videos, placing well in competitions, and releasing a book of his riding entitled "Mirra Images."
Big (air) time
Mirra's reign as a pure legend and unstoppable competitive force continued within BMX to 2011, when he decided to take a step back and evaluate his career. In his final BMX appearance at X Games in 2008, Mirra earned a bronze medal in BMX Big Air.
Rather than rest on his laurels, Mirra was actively pursuing outside interests, such as Rally Car racing (which he competed in from 2008-2013 in X Games) and more recently, triathlons. Mirra was a factory driver for Subaru Rally Team USA in both 2012 and 2013, and had a career-best finish of fourth place in the Global Rallycross Championship series in 2013.
Meeting of the minds
Respect on the track was a given when the likes of drivers such as Dave Mirra (left), Ken Block (center) and Travis Pastrana (right) met on the driving field.
"Rallycross is a lot of fun and the risk isn't too high," Mirra said of his auto exploits.
"I loved riding and had a pretty big injury in 2010 in Salt Lake City and then just did not have the drive anymore," Mirra said in 2014 of his decision to move away from BMX competition to pursue other interests. "I just did one last event and realized I had to be true to myself. If you don't care if you are first or last you probably shouldn't be doing it."
A new Mirra
"I'm the kind of guy, if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it all the way," Mirra said in 2014, concerning his interest in triathlons. To this end, Mirra began working with former Elite USA National Team coach Cliff English. "This sport is so easy to access because so many people are willing to help," he added.
In the past year, Mirra split his time between upstate New York and his adopted hometown of Greenville, North Carolina. Married with two children, Mirra was heavily involved with the raising of his daughters, who often accompanied him to races and greeted him at the finish line. In fact, Mirra's older daughter was the first member of his family to compete in a triathlon. Mirra's Instagram is stacked with photos of his family -- many with the hashtag "beadadnotafad."
Rest In Peace, Dave Mirra
Mayor Allen Thomas of Greenville, North Carolina, spoke with Mirra hours before his death. "We mourn the loss today of a great friend and wonderful human being who touched the lives of so many around the world with his gift," said Thomas in a Facebook post following the news.