For Corben Sharrah, hard work, determination and faith have paid off with his qualification to compete in BMX at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Sharrah qualified by winning the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for BMX Saturday evening in Chula Vista, California.
With his ticket to Rio now in hand, Sharrah, 24, can look back on the past five years with the satisfaction that comes from a mission accomplished.
Sharrah suffered a broken right femur at the 2011 world championships when another rider crashed in front of him. With the 2012 Olympic Trials looming, Sharrah did all that he could to speed up a normally lengthy recovery process.
Two days after surgery to insert a rod into his leg, Sharrah was walking with the aid of crutches. Two weeks later, he was able to throw the crutches away. He was back on a road bike a week after that, and back in the gym training six weeks after surgery.
Despite a meteoric rise that saw him claim his first world cup victory at age 19 in 2011, Sharrah was unable to make the 2012 Olympic team and his dream was put on hold for another four years.
It wasn’t until less than three months ago that he returned to the top step of a world cup podium, earning gold at the 2016 season opener on March 26 in Santiago del Estero, Argentina.
“I’ve prayed a lot for this day and I’ve worked hard since I broke my femur,” he said after the race in March. “I just never could seem to get back to form and make the final. It’s a really big win for me. It took a lot of belief to get this done.”
Sharrah joins a U.S. Olympic BMX Team that includes Nic Long and Alise Post, who earned their spots on the Rio roster by virtue of their bronze-medal finishes at last weekend’s world championships in Medellin, Colombia. Long and Post will compete in their second Olympic Games after racing four years ago in London. The final two members of the team (one man, one woman) will be chosen via discretionary selection by June 24.