“When we started BMX 21 years ago, we were fired from everywhere.”

33-year-old Matthias Dandois has already won nine BMX Flat World Championship titles. Participation in FISE 2022 was uncertain, but Parisians finally joined this edition and advanced to the final on May 29th in flying colors.

Paris match. BMX Flat, what does it consist of?
Matthias Dandowa. This is one of the areas of BMX that consists of performing tricks on flat ground. No slopes or fireworks required. BMX is an abbreviation for “Bicycle Motocross”. This sport was born in California in the 70’s. There, kids who weren’t enough to buy a motocross bike hooked a can between the wheel and the frame of an old bike to mimic the noise of a motorcycle. Since then, the move has evolved into several areas, such as “flats” on the ground, “parks” where it was drawn, and BMX racing on speed circuits. The latter two participate in the Olympic program.

Read again: FISE-Freestyle Skate Champion Manon Dellien: “I’m really confident when I’m skating.”

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At first I wasn’t sure about joining Fiss in Montpellier last weekend, but I finally decided to go there. what happened ?
One morning I woke up with pain in my entire leg. The next night she woke up to swim with a high fever and decided to go to the emergency room. Her legs started to swell and couldn’t go down. After the time to do a blood test, I got into a troll’s leg. I started antibiotics, and it improved. I was disappointed to see that I hadn’t had the opportunity to go to FISE for the first time in three years. I jumped on the first train on Thursday morning when I saw my legs available.

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What do you expect from this 2022 edition?
I still feel good, so I want to make the best place. There is no reason to run bad tomorrow, so I will win for the best. Being there is already a victory. And it’s really great that he’s back for the event and learning to be together again, without gauges or masks. The public was even warmer than in other years, breaking attendance records for the first two days.

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Flat should probably arrive in Paris in 2024, but the Olympic Commission has estimated that high-level women are not yet sufficient. Without perfect equivalence, discipline cannot go to the Olympics, it is perfectly normal.

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You finished 4th in the X Games in April in Japan, a country you are familiar with. What does this result represent to you?
It was my first tournament of the year. It was a good number, but I fell into the semi-final with Yoshio Hayakawa, a Japanese who is too strong so far. So it’s a chocolate medal for me, but otherwise it’s a bad sign, so it’s normal to see young people growing. So it’s good to see the sport updating itself. Especially the Japanese are very strong, they have a lot of patience and huge training ability that I admire.

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In contrast to them, you are pretty big in sports despite the balance, what benefits do you get from it?
This is a pretty aesthetic advantage. I’m tall, so I have a big bike and big limbs, so I get more movement. It’s impressive and clean, but it’s actually useless in terms of balance and requires a lot of physical preparation.

More and more urban disciplines are participating in the Olympic program, are BMX flats on the list?
BMX racing and parks are already participating in the Olympic program. Flat should probably arrive in Paris in 2024, but the Olympic Commission has estimated that high-level women are not yet sufficient. Without perfect equivalence, discipline cannot go to the Olympics, it is perfectly normal. Fortunately, things are changing, so why not reach 2028? But of course without me …

Matthias is aiming for his 10th title in Abu Dhabi in November.

Matthias is aiming for his 10th title in Abu Dhabi in November.

© Jennifer Lindini

Social networks have made urban sports like BMX more democratic. Where do you think we are today?
I started BMX 21 years ago. At that time, we were training dummies on the street and were kicked out from everywhere. It was really counterculture. Not today. BMX has participated in the Olympics and we are part of the French cycling team. But for us it’s not at all. We are training as usual and it’s cool. It’s also thanks to social networks. Millions of people around the world follow BMX. Young people can access information and find it more easily.

How much fun does BMX give you? Do you feel the same when you ride a bike for years?
Yes, completely! I still like to ride too much every day, but it has evolved a lot in the course of my career. The first was to stop the steam and stay with my friends. When I started the contest, it was about winning, inventing, and performing. And the more you grow up, the more you look at the aesthetic and artistic aspects of your field. But the red line is that I still love to ride my bike.

Where do you find inspiration and creativity in the face of a fairly bold younger generation?
I believe that my source of inspiration today is not to do BMX accurately. If you practice too much, you will get a headache and you will get the impression that it will not work. If you let go and return to BMX, you’ll feel a little more open and creative.

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You can say that you made a movie in your life! But I don’t think until I want to continue my cinema experience from there …

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When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player and then practiced athletics. Why did BMX finally win?
I love sports, tennis, running and soccer. But it was my trainer who yelled at us and got sick of “traditional” sports. I thought he was training PSG, but we were at the sports club in Epiney sur Orge … so it was this training environment that didn’t suit me. With BMX I was able to set my own schedule and it was important to me at the time so I could do what I wanted without anyone telling me what to do.

You appeared in Axelle Laffont’s movie “Milph” in 2017. How was this experience? Want to explore more in the field of cinema?
It was a crazy experience. Axel was invited to the competition and finally she told me that if I wanted to pass the casting of her next movie, I would be perfect for one of the characters. After taking acting lessons and passing casting, I played that role. Shooting in La Ciotat was too good, team hell, a real summer camp. I still have a very good relationship with the actor. You can say that you made a movie in your life! But I don’t think until I want to continue my cinema experience from there …

Model, you pay attention to your image. Interested in making clothes inspired by urban sports?
It was very exciting to have the opportunity to design my own clothing at the clothing brand Dockers. I love fashion and it’s a great opportunity, but I’m not even thinking about having my own clothing brand.

After 9 World Championship titles by your achievements, what are your goals, your dreams today?
Obviously to make a tenth to round it all up! There will be a World Championship in Abu Dhabi in November and another chance in Glasgow in 2023. It will be the last major tournament before moving to Second Life. Production box with my agent. I’m creating content for myself and the athletes at the agency. I love it. I want to go to the other side of the camera and help others manage their images.