In the spotlight

An interview with Nikita Ducarroz

The BMX mistress of tricks and all-round Ms amazing

BMX mistress of tricks Nikita Ducarroz is our freshest addition to the TSG Global Team and as advocate for mental health, a killer bee on a bike and an all-round good egg, there is no better person to chat with to stoke the need to get padded up and send it than Nikita.


Hey Nikita, you had an amazing international upbringing, with a Swiss dad, American mum, and childhood split between California and Switzerland. How was that?

I feel so lucky to have grown up in that dual culture between the US and Europe. We spoke French with our dad and English with our mom and got to spend a lot of time in Switzerland with our family there. Sometimes it felt a bit strange as a kid as I never really felt like I fitted in 100% with either side, but I wouldn’t change anything if I could.

Nikita Ducarroz bmx

What was your roadmap from football to BMX? It’s a pretty extreme change of discipline…

Ha! It just sort of happened naturally. Or, ‘unnaturally” I guess you could say. Football was everything for me. But when anxiety and panic attacks started to take over my life around 14, it became more and more difficult to keep up with the requirements of a team sport and I eventually quit, with the stipulation from mom that I had to find something else active to replace it. I started by just riding my bike around the local walking trails we had, until one day I discovered BMX through YouTube videos. That was it. I was hooked. I saved up for a proper BMX bike and started riding in my driveway until I had the guts to go to the local skatepark. I never looked back.

How would you compare a team sport like football (sorry can’t call it soccer as am English) and BMX? I mean the mindset of it not the mechanics on the field of play.

I guess at the base of all sports the mindset is the same. Pushing yourself to be better, train harder, achieve more etc. But the mindset for BMX once you get past those similarities is so far beyond any team sport. The risk is so much higher in every little thing we are doing, so the mental aspect is big. I think on top of making all the typical sports stuff like repetition, consistency, pushing through etc, you have that fear factor that you have to push through at all times. You have to be ok with crashing, getting hurt, and that it’s just a normal part of the sport. It really is such a huge mental battle.

Nikita Ducarroz bmx

What was it about BMX and the community that surrounds it that “saved your life”?

I felt so free entering the BMX community because I could just be there, no one was counting on me but myself, and there were no rules etc. That took the pressure off me that I felt with team sports. The community was so immediately welcoming, they were all ages, backgrounds, yet we all just shared this passion that brought us together and none of that mattered. I found a place that I could slowly work on myself to have less anxiety about leaving my house, without any of the constraints of a team sport that just brought on constant panic attacks. Riding also taught me how to keep pushing for something, because of the process of trying and learning new tricks. And I think I really was able to take that mindset I learned from that into life and into working through my anxiety.

I am so in awe of you setting up MindTricks: Can you tell us how that project came about please?

I really tried to make a point of sharing Instagram posts here and there that were raw and vulnerable, to show the not so pretty side of things. The un-manicured, not perfect side of Instagram. To be real and show my journey as an athlete, especially one dealing with mental health problems. We set up MindTricks after thinking maybe it would be cool to have a central location that I could continue sharing my posts of that nature, while also talking to more athletes and sharing their stories, to encourage others who might be going through similar things and feeling like they are alone.

Is it the mission of MindTricks to save the lives of others by giving them a safe space in which to talk about their anxiety?

The goal was really just to have a space where we could share people’s stories of being athletes and dealing with mental health and mental illness and encouraging people to open up and not be afraid to talk about it and ask for help. Just really normalize the conversation around it, so that if someone is ever suffering in silence, maybe they read one of the posts and realize that it can affect anyone, even these “perfect” professional athletes, and that it’s ok, and not a weakness to ask for help.

Nikita Ducarroz bmx

For so many, the arena of competitive sports is a terrifying prospect, but you come into your own when the pressures on. Can you tell us a little about what gets you hyped about competing?

I won’t lie, I get incredibly nervous at competitions and usually all I want to do when I’m standing up on the deck before it’s go-time is go home. But I just love that feeling of having 60 seconds to show what you have come up with, 60 seconds to try your line, and the adrenaline that comes with it. I also just love the travel that comes with it, getting to compete in so many different countries, experiencing new cultures… it’s amazing.

How did the DDASC training facility in North Carolina get you prepared in body and mind for going all in?

Moving to the DDASC in 2020 was the best decision I ever made. It was right before the world shut down from Covid and I was able to continue training with a small group of the world’s best with no distractions. Having that routine, riding every day, and those guys around to push me really helped me focus in on my weak areas both mentally and physically, and put the work in to be a better rider. It was such an adventure leading up to Tokyo 2020 and memories I’ll never forget.

You have a bulging trophy cabinet, which includes silver at 21’ and 22’ Worlds and the European Champs and Bronze at the Olympics: Is there a win or even a loss that stands out in your professional career as a moment that moved your world?

I mean the Olympic medal for sure was that one that just didn’t (and still doesn’t) feel real. Never in my entire life did I think BMX would take me to the Olympics, and so to be standing there with the opportunity to not only compete at them but come home with a medal was unreal. I feel like when I started riding BMX, it was just something I did for myself, it made me happy. There weren’t really any competitions for women, and I didn’t even really know that was out there. I was just riding because. So, to stand on that podium and know that I was able to take that feeling and show the sport to the entire world, to a whole side that maybe didn’t know about BMX before, that was really cool.

Nikita Ducarroz bmx

What have you got penned in the calendar for you and your bike, including Paris 2024?

For now, I’m just getting ready for the Games! I’m going to spend some time in Costa Rica training; there will be some qualifying events before Paris, and I’ll just be working on my tricks and preparing mentally. After that we still have more events like any other year so it’s going to be a big travel year for competitions. I would say that’s definitely the focus of 2024, competitions. Japan, France, China x2, Hungary, and the UAE.

You must be stoked to be taking on the future with TSG protection?

So stoked! The half shell helmet from TSG has always been hands down my favourite one, so making that switch only made sense. And, of course just to know there’s such an extensive line of protective gear as well, I have all my needs covered in one shot. I’m excited to work with a brand that’s in Switzerland, and a brand that really works closely with the riders to come out with the best stuff!

What would you like to say to any kids out there that are having a hard time and looking for a new direction in their world?

Have patience with yourself, be kind to yourself. Sometimes things take time. If you just work on one thing each day, pick one task to battle, no matter how small, that stuff adds up in the end. Just take that first step

Nikita Ducarroz portrait

So happy to be riding for TSG! In addition to the helmets, there are so many other models of protective gear which are an absolute necessity in BMX, so there’s really something for everyone!

Nikita Ducarroz bmx