05 February 2016

Dave Mirra R.I.P.

In this blog, I haven't written much about Bicycle Motocross, or BMX.  My omission is not out of disrespect; I don't touch on the sport very much because, having never ridden BMX myself, I know very little about it.  I have a lot of respect for the riders, as their sport requires a lot of bicycle, as well as other, skills that are gained only through a lot of disciplined work.  Plus, a double flip is quite the spectacle!

Dave Mirra was the first person to pull off that maneuver, in 2000.  Every year from 1995 until 2008 (with the exception of 2006, when he was injured), he won medals--including 14 golds--at the X Games.  It's been said that he is to BMX as Michael Jordan was to basketball; perhaps we could say he was to his sport as Eddy Mercx was to road racing.  Perhaps he was even more integral to BMX than anyone else was to his or her sport:  The first year he medaled at the X games was the first year they were held!

But it wasn't just his daring feats that made him a celebrity; his engaging personality made him a popular guest on shows like David Letterman's and a host MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge.  It's no surprise, then, that video games were named after him.

Sometimes he seemed invincible, as if there were no walls that could contain him and no boundaries he couldn't conquer. 

Until now.  Sadly, he was found today in his truck with "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," according to police in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he has lived for many years. 

Whatever the circumstances, his death is sad, especially since he is only 41 years old and leaves a wife and two daughters.  But if he indeed killed himself (he left no suicide note), it begs the question of whether his many falls caused long-term damage that led to the depression he was said to be suffering.  That question is especially valid in light of the experiences of former NFL players (like Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012) whose repeated hits to the head led to brain damage that resulted in depression.


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