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Why Dave Mirra Was The Tony Hawk Of The BMX World

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You probably heard about the death of BMX legend Dave Mirra, the incredible athlete and winner of 24 medals at the X Games.

But being one of the most decorated athletes in extreme sports history isn't the main reason Dave Mirra holds a special place in the hearts of so many Millennials.

Mirra, or "Miracle Boy" as he was known, was the Tony Hawk of BMX.

He was a central figure in bringing the sport to the mainstream, ushering in an era of amazing performers.

All of this was made possible by the bravery and talent that allowed Mirra to popularize so many awe-inspiring tricks.

In 2000, Mirra became the first rider in history to land a double backflip in competition.

He was also known for a 180-degree backflip called a "flair" and the corkscrew 720 he completed with just one hand at X Games 15.

Mirra's techniques inspired other riders to innovate and take more risks as well.

After Mirra grabbed mass attention, the world was introduced to Ryan Nyquist, Dennis McCoy, Jamie Bestwick and TJ Lavin, to name a few.

Following in Mirra's footsteps, riders seemed to make a collective effort to step up their games, trying out stunts such as double tail whips and 720-degree spins off dirt jumps.

More and more people began tuning into the X Games, asking themselves what Mirra and his peers could possibly do next.

BMX emerged as an exciting and self-affirming trend for kids of all ages.

Those who didn't feel like joining the endless army of skateboarders took to perfecting bunny hops and barspins.

No one wanted a mountain bike when they discovered pegs, the metal cylinders on the sides of each bike tire. Pegs were known within the adolescent male community as the smoothest way to get a girl to touch your shoulders.

In terms of bike brands, Mirra and Nyquist were sponsored by Haro Bikes, which filled schoolyards, along with Mongooses, Diamondbacks and, of course, the legendary Dynos.

Different clothes also became popular, thanks to extreme sport practitioners, who didn't dress like preppy surfers. Instead, they wore loose-fitting shirts with their sponsors' names and shoes made for gripping their equipment.

Everybody had a favorite rider, but it was widely agreed upon Mirra was among the best ever, especially since he just kept winning over and over again.

He was easy to love; he seemed fearless but was never cocky or outspoken.

You can thank Mirra for an entire generation of  people who defined "cool" as a combination of adventure, focus, creativity and, oh yeah, punk rock.

In fact, "Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX" may very well have had the best soundtrack in the history of video games.

Rest in peace, Dave. We'll never forget you.