Decades of sporting competitions have passed with memorable moments that will forever be imprinted in our minds. From traditional sport moments of iconic playoff drama, the “Miracle on Ice” to Travis Pastrana’s double back flip in Best Trick, these memories forever will be on our mind and shape sports.
As long as there have been these iconic moments, there has always been a strong separation of men and women in sports. For many reasons men and women do not cross over and compete against the other. But on occasion, opportunities are presented for women to break barriers and match the level of intensity and compete against the men.
The moments are few and uncommon, and there is no sign that they will become more common. From Danica Patrick to Billy Jean King, the few moments women compete against the men, provide a glimpse into the world of women’s sports to see the grit and determination that is often lost in the shadow of men’s competition.
X Games Los Angeles will provide another breaking barrier moment as Vicki Golden was invited today to compete in the Best Whip contest against the biggest names Freestyle Motocross has to offer.
Starting at seven years of age, Vicki began to ride dirt bikes and immediately competed against the boys, due to a lack of other female racers. Her journey to the top of the podium brought home gold medals and also brought season ending injuries.
At 16 she won the AMA Loretta Lynn Amateur Championship, a prestigious career win. Her Pro racing career was beset by injures but with each season placing in the top 10, showing that when she was behind the bars, she was an immediate podium threat.
2011 and 2012 brought X Games gold medals in Women’s Moto X, establishing Vicki as an elite female rider.
We went in depth with Vicki, talking about gender barriers and whether they are fair or not and what it means to be in her position as an athlete. In the questions that follow, you will see the Vicki was extremely candid and honest.
|1. In regards to competing in Best Whip: Do you view yourself as a champion for women’s Moto sports or is this a personal goal for you? What drives you to be on this level?It’s both actually. It’s obviously rad to compete against women that rip on bikes at the level we are at but just something about breaking that gender barrier that really fires me up. I think it’s partially because of the area of the sport too. There is no series for women but the MX series. I’m just not into that. But there are tons of Arenacross races I can get into with the guys. Racing against men doesn’t really scare me it just pushes me more and I’m not really sure why more women don’t do it. Competing in best whip is just another barrier that I want to break. Whipping is just something I love to do and know I can be competitive with those guys.
2. You are known as a very educated rider when it comes to bike knowledge and rider feedback. Do you feel that your dedication to the education side of the sport gives you a major advantage and why?
Unfortunately the stereotype is that the riders are dumb and have no clue how to work on the bike they ride. For me it’s the opposite. I love doing bike work. I take pride to say that I’ve taken my bike down to a bare frame, cleaned all the parts, re-grease everything and built it back up. I’ve learned a lot from my mechanic Andrew Bauer and Nathan Alexander who is Andrew Short’s mechanic.
3. Metal Mulisha is a huge brand name and many of the best riders have come up through their ranks. Do you feel any added pressure being the first female MM athlete? How has training at the compound aided in your career goals?
It has only given me confidence. I really struggle with my mental side of things and it’s hard for me to believe in what I have and stay positive. It’s been especially tough this year. It’s hard to not take things personally when companies say no and that what I have worked so hard at is not worth their time or support. I was really getting bummed out and wasn’t even sure if I was meant to do this and then that’s where Larry Linkogle came in and added me to the team. Having someone like Link has been the biggest boost of confidence this year and I’m blessed to have him on my side and believe in me. Training on the MDP Block at Link’s compound is great. I want to start learning tricks and I know that’s where it’s going to happen.
4. Women’s sports always seem to be on a step down from where men’s sports are. How do you feel that you are helping to balance the levels? Should men’s and women’s sports be on the same level and why?
If you look at any sport the women are always a step down. It’s just how it is. Unfortunately its a rarity that the barriers are broken and even when they are, we aren’t winning. When I race Arenacross against the men, making night shows and main events are normally my goals. My best has been a top ten so as great as an accomplishment as it is, for the average guy that’s nothing too impressive. Its hard to ever be treated equal as a full women’s series but when you break barriers its a great story that gets my sponsors and myself the exposure we deserve. Should we be on the same level? Honestly for the women races and the series that we have, no we should not. There’s a handful that I will stand by that deserve to be treated equally but the majority no. They don’t put in the work and take it seriously and that’s what is killing the sport.
5. Why Best Whip? Why not one of the other Moto X disciplines?
I honestly want to do them all at X Games. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I want them all! I want to compete in Best Whip, Speed and Style and Step Up. It’s all down the road and stuff that is going to take time and work to learn everything it takes time to be invited to them.
I may not be any good at any of it, at first but I’m at least going to try. I still need to be realistic about it though. One step at a time. After X Games, I want to learn tricks and see where it takes me. Right now I feel I can compete in best whip and be competitive so we are starting with that.
As she gets set to compete in Best Whip in X Games Los Angeles Thursday August 1, the sounds of barriers will be broken and fans can vote her the Best Whip champion. With or without the gold around her neck, at the end of the night, she will continue to be a champion for women and young female riders. Vicki’s journey to the top continues through the support of her fans and sponsors. If you want to support her vote for her in Best Whip @VG214 #BestWhip and find a way to be involved in her journey.