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Amanda Geving  

Amanda Geving is already dreaming about the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where BMX will be a first-time event.

At 14, she already has won three World Championships. But her road to the Olympics suffered a setback in the 2002 national competition in Kentucky when she experienced a terrible fall.

"While coming down the last straightaway, this girl got wobbly and hit me, so I went over the handlebars," Amanda said. She fractured her collarbone in two places, cut her liver and bruised her lung.

After some recuperation, Amanda got right back on her bike. In July, she competed in the BMX championships in Australia and came in fifth in the world.

Amanda, a freshman at Seminole High School, continues to compete regularly, including nearly every weekend. She recently was ranked first in the country on her 20-inch bike.

All of this success has gotten Amanda some notice. On Aug. 11, a photograph of Amanda lifting her bike over her head appeared in People magazine, in which she was mentioned as one of the new young athletes of America.

Amanda first became interested in BMX racing while playing soccer about five years ago.

"I was in a soccer tournament that was right next to a bike track, when I saw them going around the track. It looked like a lot of fun, so I tried it and liked it," Amanda said. "I had not even watched BMX biking before I started racing."

Now Amanda has two BMX bikes that are worth at least $1,500 each. Because of her success, she has sponsors who provide her with most of her equipment.

A BMX bike is like a small mountain bike with thin tires and no gears. Even though it has a seat, the rider rarely sits down on it. BMX racers go around a dirt track with hills.

Because Amanda is an amateur, she is not paid for winning her races. Instead, she races for trophies and savings bonds. Amanda has won so many trophies that she has donated many of them to the the Largo Recreational Center and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast Inc. in Pinellas Park.

Bill Geving, Amanda's father, is her coach and bike mechanic. He travels around the world with Amanda and makes all of the right adjustments with her bike. Geving learned about the sport as Amanda raced.

"When she first got started, I was just a regular dad out there, watching my little girl," he said. "And when I started hearing a bunch of people telling me how good she could possibly be and how good she is right now, I started talking to a lot of more experienced riders and parents who have been in this sport for a while. . . . From that point I took to starting to watch the races close."

Geving also started reading books about setups of bicycles so he could fix Amanda's bike if necessary.

Even though BMX bike racing can be dangerous, Amanda's parents do not get worried while she is racing. "Amanda has raced long enough that she knows quite a bit of skills, and she's got the racing down pretty good," Geving said. "I wanted to see my little girl do something a little tougher than ballerina."


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