The grieving Nanaimo family and friends of world renowned cyclist Steve Smith are building an inspiring memorial to the young man.
26-year-old Smith died in a motocross accident in Nanaimo in May but now a new park in his honour will give kids a chance to aim for the stars like Smith did.
Surrounded by her son’s best friends Tianna Smith is reminded of how many people loved her boy.
“It overwhelms me the love that was out there for him. I wish he could be here,” says Smith.
They’re meeting at the park where Steve Smith first found his passion for riding.
“And all I could hear was people saying have you seen that little boy he keeps jumping off these huge massive jumps he’s crazy,” remembers Tiana Smith.
So on the wooded, hilly lot next to the BMX park where Smith learned to ride, a memorial mountain bike park is going to be built.
“This is going to make this park, in this town sensational,” says organizer Michelle Corfield.
A city park, complete with the jumps, natural terrain, and tall trees Smith loved to cycle in. That those grieving his loss hope would make him proud, and lay the path for an up and coming youngster.
“Everybody sees him as a racer, and as an amazing person but how he got here was more amazing. Having absolutely nothing growing up, ” says Steve Smith’s Uncle, Eric Smith.
Smith rose to become the best mountain biker the world, and planned to come home to Nanaimo to retire in a few years and build a park like this when he was killed in a tragic motorbiking accident in May. So his family and friends have fundraiser to make his dream to help other kids from humble beginnings get a head start in the sport he loved.
“That was going to be his priority when he hung up the bike,” says his trainer and Kinesiologist Clayton Smith.
“We’re just a little Island you might think but you can do anything you want and Steve showed us that,” says Smith’s friend John Bailey.
“And we’ll always be able to remember him through those new riders,” says Michelle Corfield.
So happy as Smith’s sister is to see this happening, it comes with mixed feelings, knowing she’ll never see her brother enjoying it.
“Hits home a lot,” says Kara Smith. “My little dude loves being on his bike and I know we’ll be there lots and just watching all these generations of kids that get to do wha they enjoy.”
Turning the tragic death of the world renowned cyclist and proud Nanaimo product into a triumph for kids of the city he loved and left too early. Groundbreaking on the park is expected to begin later this month.