Good Sports: BMX racer and 2-time Olympian Brooke Crain takes a new path in life

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- When Brooke Crain first started competing in BMX racing she was one of only a handful of girls on the local circuit.

But her skills on a bike quickly took her around the world, eventually making her one of the top females the sport has ever seen.

Now 21 years later, the Mt. Whitney grad is looking to carve out a new path in her life away from the racetrack.

The 2-time Olympian and Visalia resident says this year will be her last as a professional BMX racer.

"As a child, I never knew it would get to this point. Even as a teenager I never knew I would be making a career of this but it's one of those things that it's my passion and I never gave up on it," Brooke says.

In what started out as a way to fit in with her older brother, 6-year old Brooke began competing against other kids at the BMX track in Tulare.

Soon she was winning races and before she even got her driver's license Brooke turned pro and was jet-setting across the globe representing the US as one of the sport's most skilled riders.

"I was surrounded by my older brother and his friends and I wanted to be like them and do anything that they were doing. That really made me the rider that I am today," she says.

On the track, Brooke is accustomed to overcoming obstacles and challenges but nothing could've prepared her for the year 2020.

She had planned to compete in her third straight Olympics and then retire from the sport but then the unthinkable struck - first the pandemic and the postponement of the summer games right around the same time she lost her father to suicide.

"I felt like I only wanted to go to these games to make my dad proud and I know I've already made him proud. I've gone to two Olympic games and I don't need to do that again to make him proud. So that's where I'm out and that's how that decision was made," she says.

Not only is she competing in a predominately male sport, Brooke is one of the few pro athletes to come out as gay.

She met her wife Rachel while the two were competing at a race in Germany a few years back.

Brooke, just days away from her 28th birthday, is now looking toward taking a new path in her life.

"My dream is to help people in the LGBTQ community, it is to become a public speaker for suicide awareness, it is to become a mom,' she says.

Brooke says even though her time competing against the world's best is coming to a close, riding will always be in her blood. She credits her mom for helping her develop a love for the sport before she was even born.

"She used to ride ten miles a day when she was pregnant with me so I've always known being on a bike I guess," she says.

While this year will be Brooke's last as a professional rider she continues to give back to the sport, working as an instructor a few days a week at track in Hanford and Lemoore.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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