Nikita Ducarroz “Just as I train on my bike or in the gym, I’m approaching my mental health and mental performance in the same way.”

Nikita Ducarroz
· Silver mdealist in Tokyo 2020, Extreme Barcelona 2023 champion and currently in 5th place in the OQS ranking,
· We talk with the Swiss-American Nikita Ducarroz, one of the best female BMX athletes in the World and a strong contender to win gold in Paris 2024.

Cristian Dedeu Van den Berg

Urban World Series Comm team – Social Media & Content Manager

 How are you, Nikita? How’s the Road to Paris going?

Doing good! It’s been a very different experience this time around as we are not in Covid times anymore, so compared to last cycle where we were on lockdown and strictly training at home, we now have to train while also going to all the competitions and other events, so a lot of traveling in between.  I’ve been having a lot of fun on my bike and also enjoying the qualifying series to get to Paris.  Just trying to balance everything so that I continue doing well in my preparation without adding too much to my plate and burning out. 

– The truth behind the medals and glory: You have suffered anxiety and depression for a long time and you had a big episode before Tokyo2020. Now, with Paris2024 in the horizon, how are you dealing with this?

Any recommendations to people who are suffering from this?

For me it’s always been in waves, constantly dealing with different levels of it.  I have never stopped working to improve this and figuring out new tools as I also grow and change, so that whenever an “episode” happens, I am prepared to handle it.  And its true, with time, I feel more capable when something does happen because I’ve essentially been “training” for it.  Just as I train on my bike or in the gym, I’m approaching my mental health and mental performance in the same way.  Ways I’m dealing with it now are to always keep constant and open communication with my team and psychologist, staying ahead of things, and working on my breathing/visualization and other techniques during my normal days so that I know how to use them during events or high-stress times.  For others dealing with this, I would recommend starting by finding someone you trust that you can fully open up to.  Whether that’s a therapist right away, or a friend who can help you find someone qualified.  Don’t wait until things get bad, put your plan and team into place now so it’s there to fall back on.   

Nikita Ducarroz

– What would you say to the younger Nikita who’s just starting in the BMX world?

I would tell her to trust herself and her ability, and to hold on for a wild ride!  Also maybe to learn how to ride the ramps better before trying tricks ha ha.  At that time, 14 year old Nikita felt like there was no hope for her in this life and if only she knew what was about to come from finding that little bike.  She had no idea what a blessing it was about to be. 

– Who’re your bigger inspirations? In BMX, and also in sport and life.

My biggest inspirations in BMX are Pat Casey, Kenneth Tencio, and Kevin Peraza.  Three amazing people on and off the bike, who accomplished so much and set such good examples.  In life, my parents have always been big inspirations to me, showing me what it means to work hard, showing me that I can do and be anything I choose, and teaching me to be kind to everyone and help others. 

– You won Urban World Series Extreme Barcelona 2023. Will we see you there this year?

That’s the plan! I absolutely love this series, the locations, the event, everything about it.  It was a competition I watched when I first started riding and always said I wanted to go one day. 

– What does it feel like to do a backflip with a flat at the Shanghai OQS?

Honestly, a little bumpy ha ha.  But really I was so in the zone I didn’t really realize what was happening.  I just remember hearing the tire explode, my coach yelling to keep going, and then feeling the tire somehow still keeping a tiny bit of air that let me keep rolling.  At that point I was just pedaling as hard as I could to keep the run going, was off my line so a bit lost, and just sent it

Nikita Ducarroz

Thank you Nikita, good luck in Budapest!