Many times when you ask someone to hear a tale from their childhood memories, they will tell you of the first time they had to get stiches or thought that they were lost in a department store. Not so for Olympic hopeful BMX athlete and United States Sports Academy student Felicia Stancil.
“I can literally visualize in detail the first time I rode a two-wheeler at the age of 3,” she said.
Her father, a former racer himself, noticed that Stancil was naturally good at riding when she was barely talking. She fell in love with racing the very instant that she laid her wheels on the track for the first time. During school, Stancil participated in several other sports, including volleyball, basketball, softball, track and floor hockey, but never wavered from her true passion of BMX racing.
“I was in about 5 sports at once,” said Stancil, “but the deciding factor that made me want to focus only on BMX was the thrill of jumping.”
She now has been racing for 15 years and has loved every second of it.
There are two different types of BMX tracks. USABMX tracks are smaller and designed for riders of all ages, and then you have Olympic Supercross Tracks. With a starting hill height of 8 meters, the Olympic track can bring more speed and bigger jumps on the rest of the track.
“There is no better feeling than charging down an 8-meter hill and sending that first 12-meter jump,” Stancil said.
Today, Stancil is living and perfecting her skills at the Chula Vista (Calif.) Training Center. The center is complete with three Olympic BMX tracks on site, as well as several addition outdoor sport training facilities. The weather there is beautiful year-round, according to Stancil, which gives her nothing to complain about.
“I am very grateful for this place to train at,” she said.
In addition to training for the Olympics, Stancil is taking online classes from the Academy. She always has had a passion for sports and learning, and a program that puts those two things together was perfect. Classes being offered online were exactly what Stancil needed because of her demanding training schedule.
“The self-paced classes I took (give) me flexibility to complete the classes as well with my crazy, busy life training full time,” said Stancil.
The 20-year-old full-time BMX athlete plans to use the courses she is taking through the Academy to complete her undergraduate degree at Marian University in Indianapolis. For now she is taking as many classes as she can while perfecting her jumps on the tracks in Chula Vista, hoping to go for a couple Olympics win that gold medal.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special-mission sports university created to serve the nation and world in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, visit www.ussa.edu.