Wheelchair Motocross Increasing in Popularity
Posted by ROLAND REZNIK on April 06, 2016. 0 Comments
Wheelchair Motocross, also known as WCMX, is the fastest growing wheelchair sport in the world. It involves using a wheelchair to perform tricks on skate park ramps that have been adapted from skateboarding and BMX. Courage and athleticism are essential to participate in this exciting sport. WCMX has devoted wheelchair users and able-bodied fans worldwide. In the world of wheelchair motocross, there are two specific names that come to mind.
Aaron Fotheringham is best known by his WCMX name, “Wheelz.” He was diagnosed with spina bifida when he was three years old, which caused him to be in a wheelchair full-time since he was eight years old. Aaron would watch his brother riding his BMX at the skatepark and wished he could participate. His brother encouraged him to ride his wheelchair at the park and history was made.
Aaron Fotheringham AKA "Wheelz"
Today, Wheelz performs WCMX tricks at locations around the world, including Madison Square Garden in New York. During his performance, he attempts tricks that have never been seen before. His athleticism along with his sense of humor makes Wheelz a favorite in the industry.
In his Madison Square Garden performance, he was about to perform a risky trick from the top of a 50-foot “giganta” ramp. Before he attempts the trick Wheelz jokes with the commentator and the crowd, “When I said a wheelchair accessible ramp, I didn’t mean this.” The crowd loves him as he continued with his trick by pointing his wheels down the slope and jumping over a gap the length of three cars. The crowd goes wild with every trick he performs! Through example, Wheelz entertains as well as encourages others to participate in the thrilling sport.
In 2015, Katherine Beattie won her first WCMX World Championships by finishing eighth overall. The 29-year-old woman has CP, but spent most of her childhood surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. Surgery to lengthen her hamstrings left her muscles weak resulting in Beattie using a wheelchair.
She wasn’t able to participate in the sports she loved due to her lack of strength and balance in her legs. However, she is now known as one of the best women MCMX competitors. Beattie is the first woman to land a backflip in a wheelchair. She rides for Team Box and has quickly risen to be the top in the sport as the first American woman invited to the WCMX World Championships.
WCMX is a sport where athletes are judged for creativity, amplitude and consistently staying on their wheels. It is also essential that the crowd is entertained with the performance. Daredevils and thrill seekers are encouraged to try this sport. Local skateparks have amateur athletes which can inspire new riders to participate.
Experienced WCMX athletes often share their knowledge and give lessons to anyone who is willing to learn. As long as a wheelchair user has the courage and ability to work towards perfecting tricks and having fun along the way, this sport will continue to grow. One day it may be in the Olympics, which is something many of the WCMX athletes are wishing happens soon.