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Olympic medallist coming to Pemberton

Donny Robinson bringing Pedals 2 Medals BMX camp later this month

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Pemberton will have a little Olympic flavour later this month.

The local BMX club is bringing in 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Donny Robinson and his Pedals 2 Medals camp on June 27 and 28 from 3:45 to 7:45 p.m.

Robinson has previously been in the Sea to Sky, having instructed in Squamish last year, while he is also a regular in Nanaimo.

"Every single year, the tracks talk among themselves and the riders who travel start to talk to their local track. The Pemberton crew (said) 'Hey, we'd love to bring you to the track," Robinson said. "When people want me to be around, I'm certainly going to try to give them what they want."

While the camp is officially open to all ages and abilities, Robinson explained established riders will likely get more from the experience. He also encouraged those interested in BMX to go ride their local track.

"The Pedals 2 Medals camps are aimed at the more existing riders, the riders who already learned that they love the sport and want to progress through the ranks. There are so many places that the bicycle can take you and in BMX racing, we've got proficiency from beginner all the way up to the pro level," he said. "(The camp's ideal rider) wants to go to the provincial level or the national level or the world level of racing. I know what it has been like to go through all these different levels of racing."

While skill development will be a major part of the curriculum, Robinson also seeks to ingrain a strong work ethic into his students.

"Anything worth having in life is going to take hard work, so I try to instill that into the riders' and parents' minds," he said. "My teaching style is very fun, but stern.

"We come in there and have a goal of having fun, but we know that winning bike races is fun, too, so we know that that's going to take some work."

Robinson, based in Napa, Calif., recognizes the potential to bring more young people into BMX and has started programming locally for beginner riders.

"The sport has amazing opportunity for explosive growth," he said. "I'm trying to grow that awareness of the sport and how great it is. It's not a team sport — anyone can get out there and ride their bike. Nobody sits on the bench and it's one of those family activities where a three-year-old can do it next to their 63-year-old grandpa."

Some younger riders won't necessarily appreciate that they're having an Olympian give them tips as part of the camp, but Robinson said some of the older riders are excited to have someone with his experience at their local track. In seeing them, Robinson feels a responsibility to pass along what he knows to help them succeed while also recognizing those who helped him.

"The more advanced riders who have been around, I'm very fortunate to have them realize what I've been able to do in the sport and they want to follow in my footsteps. It's my job, really, to allow that and give them the tools to get to where I was," he said. "The people who helped usher me through the sport allowed me to get to where I am today."

Those looking to register can email erinplays@hotmail.com. Registration costs $100 for one day or $150 for both.

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