Defying the Odds
Tom van Steenbergen began his BMX racing journey alongside his brother when he was 11 years old. He fell in love with downhill mountain biking after moving to Kelowna, BC with his parents and brother Bas, who also happens to be an established pro rider. Tom had almost instant success in the downhill MTB realm, and decided to emphasize his training full-time on slopestyle. At Red Bull Rampage 2019, van Steenbergen earned a third place finish after multiple top ten finishes in competitions years prior. He also took home the NBC “signature move” award in 2017. Tom has always been a guy who sets high goals and pushes himself to make steps in the right direction towards achieving his objectives.
At Red Bull Rampage 2021 in Utah, things took a turn for the worse for van Steenbergen after suffering a devastating injury during his first run in the freeride MTB event. He opened his run with what ended up being the “Best Trick”, a precisely executed frontflip off a colossal drop. Tom had looked to combo his frontflip with a backflip off of the next step, but landed precariously, sending himself forward over his handlebars. He lay motionless in the dirt for only moments before paramedics arrived to tend to his injuries. Tom was diagnosed with having his hip sockets broken in multiple pieces, a broken shoulder, femur and lower vertebrae. The doctors had no choice but to operate, meaning a long and tumultuous road to recovery.
After years of being injured off and on, this surgery gave van Steenbergen the opportunity to fully rest and recover. Over the past several months, Tom has spent countless hours in physio and training in the gym, pushing it so hard that his blood, sweat and tears have all succumbed to gravity. This year he has a chance at the ultimate redemption with his name etched on the 2022 Redbull Rampage rider list. Despite all of the obstacles he has had to overcome, Tom van Steenbergen continues to inspire the next generation of determined young riders with his fusion of technical tricks, big mountain riding, and his never quit attitude. Look for him to send it when he rips up the dirt in Utah!