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#OurAthlete Tory Nyhaug on track for Pan Am glory

06/12/2015 02:14 EDT | Updated 06/12/2016 05:59 EDT
Tory Nyhaug didn't have much need for training wheels when he first learned to ride a bike. By age two he had cst them aside. By age four his parents were taking him to Pitt Meadows, letting little Tory loose on the dirt and bumps and banked turns of the local BMX track.

"I tried it and I loved it," laughed Nyhaug from the CBC studios in Toronto. "Now I'm 23 and still going."

Nyhaug is one to watch when BMX take centre stage at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. Last season he won silver at the World Championships becoming the first Canadian BMXer to make the podium at the event. He's also counting on his 2012 Olympics experience to make a diference. 

"The Olympics were fantastic," says Nyhaug who just missed making the semi-finals in London. "The experience of a multi-sport games is priceless. Coming into Toronto I already have that background so I can just get racing."

BMX is not a sport for wimps. Nyhaug has suffered a number of harrowing injuries, including a second ruptured spleen in the spring of 2012 that kept him in a Netherlands intensive care unit for almost two weeks.

When he finally returned home surgeons at VGH elected to remove his spleen. Two months later he was racing at the Olympics.

Earlier in his career he broke both arms in a practice crash. Currently it's surgery for a broken foot he's coming back from.

Nyhaug says his parents remain supportive and have learned to take it all in stride.

"They're fantastic, really calm when it comes to that kind of stuff. For sure they don't like the calls from overseas telling them I've been hurt. But they know I love this sport and are behind me 100-percent."

Nyhaug is gearing up to race in the Pan Am Games BMX test event this weekend in Toronto.

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