#OurAthlete Tory Nyhaug on track for Pan Am glory

23-year-old Tory Nyhaug cast aside his training wheels as a toddler and hasn't looked back. The 2014 world championship silver medalist has overcome multiple serious injuries to get where he is today.

Coquitlam cyclist says he was born for the bumps and bruises of BMX

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      Tory Nyhaug didn't have much need for training wheels when he first learned to ride a bike. By age two he had cast 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 difference. 

      "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 per cent."

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

      About the Author

      Karin Larsen

      @CBCLarsen

      Karin Larsen is a former Olympian and award winning sports broadcaster covering BC teams and athletes for 25 years.