Viral sensation: Why BMX freestyler Logan Martin wants gold ‘so bad’

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Viral sensation: Why BMX freestyler Logan Martin wants gold ‘so bad’

By Adam Pengilly

As always with the International Olympic Committee, it has to be on their terms.

Say, for example, a non-rights holder used their social media account to publish video from the Tokyo Olympics, then a punishment only just short of jail time would be waiting. But at the same time, there’s a rush on these urban sports, with inked-up athletes and teenagers competing with pods in (what are they listening to?), to lap up the hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of followers that come with them.

Logan Martin has so many social media disciples, he reckons every time he posts a video of a trick it goes viral. Damn the actual virus, this is the type of transmission the IOC can really celebrate in Tokyo.

The Australian BMX freestyle gold medal favourite used Instagram to announce he and partner Kimberley were expecting a second child next year, before urging his fans to hop over to his own YouTube channel to hear of the complications they had in falling pregnant. Then there’s his hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans, and the inevitable promotion of the five rings that come with these walking, posting street brands.

Click, click, click.

Logan Martin will start favourite in the men’s BMX freestyle final.

Logan Martin will start favourite in the men’s BMX freestyle final.Credit:Getty

Martin might be Australia’s most intriguing Olympics medallist, assuming he can live up to his billing as the world’s best BMX freestyler in Sunday’s final, the first for the sport at the Games. He’s different, but that doesn’t make him any less deserving.

Martin reckons his parents didn’t know what to call him as a baby, so they named him after the Brisbane suburb they lived in, the same one which produced the most ordinary, extraordinary NRL player of a generation, Cameron Smith.

Last year, Martin built his own ramp park in the backyard of his Gold Coast home so he could practise. The neighbours probably weren’t impressed, but it made for some spectacular vision of his aerial tricks with the hinterland in the background.


He once started getting tattoos on his upper body, then liked them so much he kept going. There’s a little bit of skin left on his foot, enough for the Olympic logo. Total time so far under the tattoo gun? About 132 hours.

‘I want it so bad. The last four years have been solely dedicated to making it to the Olympics, to win a gold medal.’

Logan Martin

He can stand pain, which comes in handy when you do BMX freestyle. It’s brutal. Last month while he sat in hotel quarantine having returned with his second BMX freestyle world title in France, a couple of rooms down was compatriot Brandon Loupos, the 2019 world champion. Loupos was going to be in Tokyo, but blew out his ACL. Australia’s women’s representative in Tokyo, Natalya Diehm, has done her ACL four times.

On Saturday, the 27-year-old Martin top scored in the seedings session with a two-run average of 90.97. The nine riders were all guaranteed of riding for gold the next day, so this was a blow-the-cobwebs-out type street show. Those watching think he’s saving his better tricks for the final - judging by what they’ve seen on Facebook. Martin even said he didn’t try too many show-stoppers, but will still wait until last to ride out.


It might be a laugh to the traditional Olympic watchers, but this is serious business. Cycling Australia built a smaller replica of the Tokyo course for Martin to fine-tune before the Games, intently knowing what the first BMX freestyle Olympic gold medal can do for its promotion.

“I want it so bad,” Martin said. “The last four years have been solely dedicated to making it to the Olympics, to win a gold medal. It would mean so much. I’ve definitely put in a lot of work to get there, and I’m gonna do my best to win [on Sunday].

“It’s an amazing thing right now for BMX and for all the new sports at the Olympics. I’m stoked to be one of the first athletes representing freestyle BMX, and I’m stoked to represent Australia.”

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