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National BMX Hall of Fame 2011 Inductees Announced

August 8, 2011 BMX Hall of Fame Logo

On Thursday, September 29th, the National BMX Hall of Fame will add four more legends to its illustrious list of BMX racers, freestylers, pioneers and industry professionals. For the class of 2011, the inductees will be as follows.

Pioneer BMX Racer - Donny Atherton

As Schwinn's marketing poster-boy throughout the late 70's and early 80's, Donny Atherton was one of the sport's best-known amateur riders with a string of No.1 plates and titles in the NBA. In 1979, he was the NBA/Jag World Champion in 15 Expert, and he became the NBA's No.1 Amateur in 1980. After turning professional, Atherton was named BMX Plus' Rookie of the Year and in 1983 was ranked No.3 Pro in the American Bicycle Association. Riding for Schwinn throughout most of his career, Donny also represented classic brands such as Vector, Redline, Champion and ProFit. With constant coverage in the top magazines - including BMX Plus!, BMX Action and Super BMX, the name Donny Atherton was always in the spotlight - representing the sport in a positive and professional manner.

BMX Racer - John Purse

John "The Jackal" Purse started racing in 1981 at Armadillo Downs in Conroe, Texas. Little did he know from that day forward he would go on to be one of our sports all-time greatest. The Jackal has over 30 years racing experience, with 17 of those years racing at the professional level. After turning Pro at the ripe age of 17 (forging his mother's signature in the process to do so), he won in his A-pro debut and jumped up to the AA-pro ranks in four months time. John has never been one to back down from anyone, at anytime, and his riding style reflected this as well. He would scrap for everything he got on and off the track. This led a fellow competitor - Eric Carter, to nickname him "The Jackal". After struggling on the circuit for a few years, John began to win more steadily and won his first two No.1 Pro titles in the NBL in ‘95 and '96. The following year, The Jackal would have his best year yet - claiming the UCI World Championships (in Canada), as well as the ABA National #1 Pro title. Following that season, with full support from Redline, John had the confidence and determination in 1998 to break the ABA record for "Most Wins in a Single Season" - standing on top of the podium 25 times in a single season. It's one of his many career records that will be hard to beat. John is ranked second on the list of all-time AA Pro wins, with 71 ABA mains. He also holds the ABA record for most AA Pro Main appearances in a career - set at a remarkable 310. **He is the only Pro with over 300 lifetime mains. Add in his unrivaled accomplishment of popularity awards -- 3 consecutive ABA Golden Crank Awards for "Pro of the Year" (`97, `98 and `99), BMX Plus! Pro of the Year (`98 and `99) & 1999 SNAP Magazine NORA Cup Rider of the year, and there is no doubt that he is deserving of this year’s Racer induction.

BMX Freestyler - Mike Dominguez

Without argument, SoCal ramp-God, Mike Dominguez, would always go bigger than anybody else in BMX Freestyle. In total, Dominguez's career spanned ten years, and during that time he won all of the major titles-- as both an amateur and then as the sport's highest paid Pro. His resume includes everything from King of the Skateparks overall titles (as a 16x in 1983 and Pro in 1985); making him the youngest rider to ever win the KoS series. Riding for Hutch and then later on for Diamondback, Mike also took the AFA Masters title in 1987 in the ramp category. To earn those No.1's, you've got to have some tricks up your sleeve, and Dominguez was always pushing the limits. He was the first to do the can-can, the no-footed can-can, 540's, 900's, 1-footed/1-handed inverts, and tailwhip flyouts. When you watch the Dew Tour or X-Games today, the roots of every vert, park and trail trick can likely be traced back to the groundwork laid by this year's Freestyler inductee.

BMX Industry - Russ Okawa

Russ was originally introduced to BMX when he was hired as the manager of Canoga Schwinn bike shop. He formed the first Factory Schwinn team and as Team Manager, he picked up future National BMX Hall of Famers Kevin Jackson and Eric Rupe. With camera in hand, he was also a contributing photographer for Bicycle Motocross News, BMX ACTION and BMX Plus! magazines in their early days. He crossed over to Mongoose/BMX Products in 1980, under the title of Advertising and Promotions manager helping form the unstoppable Mongoose team; starring No.1 NBL Pro Eric Rupe. Russ put together freestyle team/promotions and mountain bike team/promotions for Mongoose throughout the 80's and played a key part in the mountain bike success of John Tomac. In 1989, Okawa left Mongoose to work for Sachs/Sedis, in charge of Sales/Marketing which later led to a job with KMC chains. In 1997, Russ teamed back up with his old friend from Mongoose, Skip Hess Jr., who was president at Giant Bicycles. At Giant, he worked alongside BMX Hall of Famers Dave Clinton, Perry Kramer and Travis Chipres - and was influential in Giant Bicycles' rise to becoming the leading brand of bikes in the world. Sadly, in January of this year, the sport of BMX lost one of its greats when Russ passed away. His induction this year will forever place his name and reputation in the history books.

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