If you have been interested in BMX, you’ve probably come across the legendary name – Maris Strombergs already!
BMX – an abbreviated term for bicycle motocross – debuted in the Olympic program only in 2008, although it had already gained immense international popularity in the 1970s.
Moreover, in the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China, Maris Strombergs won the gold medal in the men’s event, making him the First Olympic Champion in BMX Cycling.
Similarly, four years later, the Latvian racer took the gold medal in the second BMX Championship held in London.
Six years down the lane, Maris Strombergs announced his retirement on November 13, 2018.
Although there is little information about the former BMX champion, stick till the end to find out what Maris has been doing now that he’s retired.
Before we get started, here are some quick facts you might want to know about Maris Strombergs:
|Strombis, The Machine
|March 10, 1987
|36 Years Old
|Two sisters – Ilze Stromberga & Vita Stromberga
|6 feet 1 inch
|Former BMX racer
|Latvian Olympic Team, Free Agent Bicycles World Team & Rockstar
|Bicycle Motocross (BMX Racing)
|Son – Rio James Strombergs
|Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Website
|Merch of BMX
|Freestyle Sidewalk BMX, Fat Tire Mountain Bike
Maris Strombergs: Family and Education
Maris was born to Guntars Strombergs (father) and Samrite Stromberga (mother) on March 10, 1987.
Moreover, he is a middle child with two sisters – Ilze Stromberga (younger sister) and Vita Stromberga (elder sister).
Unfortunately, information regarding his family and early childhood is not available.
Strombergs was always an intelligent kid in academics – it seems he was pretty interested in learning about history.
However, he couldn’t continue his studies at the time as he was soon going to enter professional BMX competitions worldwide.
Regarding his interests, Maris Strombergs loves music; he has been dramatically fond of it since his early days! Also, he is a huge fan of Nirvana.
Additionally, Maris likes football and is a real supporter of Chelsea.
Maris Strombergs: Age, Height, and Weight
The former professional BMX rider Maris is now 36.
As of 2024, he stands 6’1” tall and weighs about 206 lbs i.e. about 90 kgs.
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Maris Strombergs: Career
Maris started riding at the age of 5. Back then, riding was just a sport he loved.
“It was fun to do after school – like a hangout with friends,” says Strombergs.
When he was fourteen, he found out BMX was becoming a part of the Olympic Games. At the time, he thought it was awesome but not something he would be able to do.
His first mentor was Raimonds Ciesnieks, but Ivo Lakes spent the longest time being trained.
First BMX Champion
Coming into the Olympics in 2008, Strombergs had already won two world championships.
Still, the then twenty-one-year-old racer wasn’t really amongst the favorites.
Even in Latvia, the young racer was counted off by the media as they didn’t think he could handle the pressure.
However, to Strombergs, it felt like a fun experience – “I just really went out there and had fun and enjoyed it,” he says in an interview.
The Latvian racer stood in Lane 1 with Sifiso Nhlapo from South Africa on his right.
Further, he stormed his way through the lane, making his lead very apparent as he took the second turn.
Moreover, in about 36.19 seconds, Strombergs crossed the finish line leaving Mike Day and Donny Robinson behind for the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
The win made him the first man to win the Olympics BMX Cycling Championship.
In the same interview with Olympics, Strombergs explains what it feels like during the game – “In BMX, the thing is you can’t get excited too early. You gotta stay focused.”
He added, “You gotta do what you gotta do. When you cross the finish line, that’s when you start thinking.”
Strombergs realized his victory was much more significant after returning to Latvia.
When he went home, the media started paying attention to him, and people were waiting for him at the airport.
It was hard for Maris Strombergs to go unidentified in the nation of Latvia after winning his first Olympic gold medal.
After Latvia’s return as an independent country to the Olympics after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the government had won only one gold medal before.
Moreover, Igors Vihrovs won Latvia the first gold medal in 2000 with the floor exercise in Gymnastics.
Second BMX Championship Win
In 2012, BMX held the second BMX Cycling Olympic game in London.
Coming back, Strombergs felt the pressure of defending his championship title.
“Defending the title is more difficult than winning it,” the racer said.
This time Strombergs stood on Lane 3. Strombergs and Liam Phillips represented Great Britain got the best of the start.
But Philips struggled on the first turn, and the Latvian took the lead, eventually riding to victory and completing the BMX course in 37.576 seconds.
That made the Latvian the double Olympic gold medalist, while Sam Willoughby and Oquendo raced into second and third place, respectively.
In Beijing, Strombergs raised his hands after winning, but the first thing he did was scream in London.
Moreover, it looked as if the victory had come to him much harder this time.
All his work in those four years finally paid off, and the pressure to hold the championship title for longer seemed to vanish.
“I just wanted to let it all out. I had a tough year going into the Olympic Games, you know, some of the pressure, all that stuff”, the racer said.
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Highlights and Achievements
In his career as a professional racer, Maris Strombergs has won several medals. Here is a list of them –
- 2007 – Bronze medal in the European BMX Championship
- 2008 – Gold medal in the European BMX Championship
- 2008 – Gold medal in the Olympics BMX Championship held in Beijing
- 2010 – won UCI BMX World Championship held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
- 2011 – Silver medal in the UCI BMX CHampionship held in Copenhagen, Denmark
- 2012 – Gold medal in the Olympics BMX Championship held in London
- 2013 – Gold medal in the European BMX Championship
- 2014 – Gold medal in the European BMX Championship
Maris Strombergs: After Retirement
Since retirement, Strombergs has trained and prepared younger racers for their competitions.
He also seems busy spending time with his family and fulfilling his duties as a father. James Strombergs seems to love cycling just like his father does.
Strombergs also has had great success with his merch selling business. The merch has ‘THE MACHINE’ printed on the front and ’81 MARIS STROMBERGS’ on the back.
Similarly, in 2019, Strombergs spent some time traveling to Canada, UK, and Columbia.
Additionally, the 2019 European Championship was held in Maris’ hometown Valmiera. There was also a track named after him.
Maris Strombergs: Injuries
Like many other athletes, Strombergs has had his fair share of injuries.
Moreover, he had a crash in November 2010 that left him with a broken hand, dislocated wrist and damaged shoulder.
Further, he required two rounds of surgery and couldn’t compete for about six months.
After his injury, he wasn’t focusing on the Olympics. He participated in a handful of competitions – including the one in the Netherlands, where he won a World Cup.
Strombergs said, “he was trying to get his confidence back and get physically right – back to where he was before.”
The racer added, “The Olympics at that time was far away but was in the back of my mind.”
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Maris Strombergs: Marital Life
Strombergs married Natasa Stromberga on November 8, 2016. Now the couple has a little son named Rio James Strombergs.
In addition, Maris and Natasa seem happy with their marriage and can be seen posting pictures of their son on their social media quite frequently.
Maris Strombergs: Net Worth and Salary
Sadly, there isn’t much information on Strombergs’ salary.
Strombergs is said to have a net worth of around $ 1.5 Million
Besides that, Maris has been actively selling his merch, the earnings from which aren’t available to be known publicly.
Maris Strombergs: Social Media Presence
Strombergs has more than 55K followers on Instagram. He mainly shares moments from his daily life and pictures of his son.
He can also wish good luck to racers appearing in current BMX competitions.
However, we see him posting pictures reminiscing on his racing days now and then on Facebook.
Now that Maris is not racing anymore, he often gets asked if he wants to get back on riding, to which he shared a post in Feb 2020 saying, “It’s been over a year and a half since I have ridden my BMX bike.”
He continued, “Do I miss racing? I get asked this a lot, and the answer is I don’t, but I do miss riding my bike.”
Maris Strombergs: FAQs
How many times did Maris Strombergs win the Olympics Championship?
Maris Strombergs won the 2008 Summer Olympics BMX Championship and the 2012 Olympics BMX Championship.
It makes Strombergs the first man to win the BMX Olympics Championship twice consecutively.
Is Maris Strombergs married?
Yes, Maris married Natasa Stromberga on 8 November 2016 and has a son – Rio James Strombergs.
When did Strombergs retire?
Strombergs announced his retirement on November 13, 2018 – 10 years after his first Olympics game. However, he still enjoys training younger racers.