Mat Hoffman - Pioneer On A Bicycle
Pioneer on a Bicycle
While America's youth abandoned BMX in droves in the 1980s and early '90s Hoffman stuck with it and displayed an athleticism that drew millions of kids back into the fold. Primarily known for his incredible jumps and innovative stunts, Hoffman, also known as 'Condor,' likes to make a point that BMX isn't simply a sport, it's a lifestyle. His successful forays into promotion, design, manufacturing, and licensing back him up; his name has been on everything from an autobiography (The Ride of My Life) to best-selling video games (BMX Pro 1 and 2) to his own Hoffman-branded merchandise, like a recent action-figure lineup that sold 1.7 million figures.
But the notoriety came with a lot of pain. After fourteen operations, fifty broken bones and a three day coma, Hoffman's love for BMX has taken its toll on him. "I actually flat-lined once," he told ESPN's Dan Patrick. In 1993, after a stunt for MTV went bad, Hoffman's spleen burst. The doctors thought Hoffman had around twenty minutes to live due to excessive internal bleeding. They removed his spleen as a last-ditch effort and it ended up saving his life. "You can say I've challenged medical science on several occasions," he told Patrick. His attitude toward such risk? He told Sophia Hollander of the New York Times, "In order to experience all the pleasures and successes in life, you have to be willing to take all the pain and failures."
He founded Hoffman Promotions in 1991, a company designed to promote Hoffman's skyrocketing fame and, consequently, BMX in general. That same year he began to design and manufacture bikes under the Hoffman brand. Though he started small (the industry was in a serious slump) his company now churns out around 30,000 bikes a year. But his greatest contribution to the sport may be the Hoffman Sports Association (HSA), responsible for producing ESPN's successful X Games. The X-Games, a competition designed for extreme sports like BMX and skateboarding, has become a phenomenon after only a few short years. Cities around the world vie to host the games since they're reported to net tens of millions of dollars for local economies. HSA also developed the Crazy Freakin' Bikers Series (CFB), a competition that provides stunt bikers a forum to compete in. Over the years it has become a major stepping-stone to the Bicycle Stunt (BS) Series. In a true testament to his well-deserved pioneer reputation, Hoffman has earned Vert series titles for the CFB, the BS Series, and has been world champion ten times.