Notes from Glen Ellen: Our local Olympian
You just never know what will ignite passion in a child. For Nikita Ducarroz of Riddle Road in Glen Ellen, it was the unfamiliar sport of BMX (bicycle motorcross) racing which thrilled her and brought her out of her shell. And Saturday night, July 31, she did her hometown proud competing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Last Saturday night as the sun was setting and Glen Ellen’s golden summer light was fading around our treasured old buildings outside, the local saloon was hopping. Over 50 neighbors, friends from childhood, cheerful members of Team Ducarroz, gathered to enjoy camaraderie and cheer as the hometown girl, raised four blocks away, performed on the world stage in the 2020 Olympics.
Nikita’s father is the Swiss Jean-Francois Ducarroz and American-born mother Nicole Abate Ducarroz, Nikita and her siblings are dual-citizens of Switzerland and the U.S., spending summers with Swiss grandparents in Geneva, who are all bilingual in French and English, so Nikita became eligible for the Swiss BMX team.
For the uninitiated, the event was the Women’s BMX Freestyle Park which involves a short bicycle which is ridden hard up and down curved ramps that fling the rider high into the air, where they perform remarkable tricks like spinning the handlebars, doing back flips, twisting and turning in mid-air before what seems the hardest part, landing firmly on the down-ramp. Each contestant does two runs, the highest score of either run is recorded, and those scores are considered.
The Jack London Saloon had the event lined up on four big screens, where the international competitors could be seen. Young faces from Japan, Russia, Great Britain Switzerland and America competed for the gold in the BMX Freestyle event.
First a cheer and then a hush fell over the bar room crowd as Nikita lined up the wheels of her bike on the track and pushed off. Down she swooped, then up she soared and rocketed into midair, she and her bike somersaulted as-one, then smoothly descended on the downward track. A fall on the second run didn’t interfere with her first-run high score, so, in the end Nikita Ducarroz of Glen Ellen won the Bronze Medal for Switzerland. Thunderous cheers flowed out of the open windows of the saloon and may have been heard all the way to Switzerland and Tokyo.
The winner here is the love, cheer, and support of a community of people. Congratulations, young Nikita Ducarroz.
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