Olympic BMX cyclist Kyle Bennett has been killed in a car wreck in Texas at age 33. Here’s what you should know about his life, career and demise.
1. Bennett was Killed in a Car Wreck on Sunday
Bennett was driving near his hometown of Conroe, Texas, at 2:15 a.m. Sunday. He was above the speed limit when he flipped his car into a ditch and landed at the gate of a private residence.
2. Bennett was Rushing to be with His Distraught Wife
According to local police, Bennett’s wife had just had her car broken into and was scared. Bennett got the call, and police believe he was speeding to get to his wife as soon as possible.
3. Bennett’s Death has Resulted an Outpouring of Emotion from the BMX World
BMX star Derek Belcher commented on the loss of his friend:
Rest in peace to father, friend, Olympian, multi-World Champion, hall of famer, legend, and all around awesome person with such effortless style and flow, Kyle Bennett … I was always so inspired by watching you ride, and equally inspired by your humble personality. I’ll remember all the good times, my friend. You’ll be forever missed.
USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson made a statement:
All of us at USA Cycling were deeply saddened to learn this morning of the tragic and untimely loss of Kyle Bennett. Kyle was a pioneer in Olympic BMX and an inspiration to those of us that knew him. He will be sorely missed, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
4. Bennett is Survived by his Fiancee and Daughter
The former World Champion leaves behind a fiancee and a beautiful 4-year4old daughter, Kylie Ray Bennett.
5. Bennett was Nicknamed “Butter”
Not in anyway similar to the South Park character, but because of his smooth unflappable biking style. Bennett explains:
I got that nickname when I first turned pro. A couple older guys gave it to me, saying I was smooth, like butter, on my bike. I think it’s a good nickname. It’s stuck with me.
6. In 2006 Bennett Underwent Serious Surgery
After an injury suffered in October 2006, Bennett had serious reconstructive surgery on a torn ACL in December of that year. He returned to competition in March 2007 and had the best season of his career, winning the UCI World Championship Title.
7. Bennett Competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Carrying on from his amazing 2007 season, Bennett went on to represent the USA at the Olympics having secured his place through his triumph in the world championship. After two intense domestic seasons he failed to qualify for the medal rounds. It was the first year that BMX was an Olympic event.
8. Bennett had Suffered a Catalogue of Injuries
The list of Bennett’s injuries make for painful reading. On top of his ACL surgery, at age 16 he broke his leg in four places, which kept him from racing for a year. In 2004, a broken collarbone kept him out for over a month. Then in early 2006, Bennett broke his hand after overshooting a jump following two acute turns. This ruled him out for the early part of the season.
9. Bennett Paid His Dues
While he struggled in his early years on the BMX circuit, Bennett worked nights with his mother as a cleaner in order to fund his cycling career. In addition to this, he had been raised by his grandparents while his parents worked, he built his first BMX course in their backyard.
10. Bennett’s Untimely Death has Resulted in the Retirement of his Number
Bennett was synonymous with his number 88, this has led to online requests for his cherished number to be retired, something that was granted by the UCI.