Tokyo Olympics

BMX Racing Powerhouse Alise Willoughby at Tokyo Olympics: What to Know

NBC 7 breaks down everything you need to know about Olympian Alise Willoughby, who's looking to bring home gold in BMX Racing at the Tokyo Olympics

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Alise Willoughby is a top-ranked BMX Racing powerhouse who has spent a lot of time living and training in San Diego County. She's competing at the Tokyo Olympics starting July 28 (it'll be July 29 in Tokyo). Here's what you need to know.

What to Know

  • Alise Willoughby is a three-time Olympian (2012; 2016; 2020)
  • Her coach is Australian BMX standout Sam Willoughby – who’s also her husband; the couple married in 2017 and both have won silver Olympic medals in their shared sport
  • She graduated from the University of San Diego in 2015 and trains in Chula Vista

BMX racer Alise Willoughby recounts the physical toll the sport has taken on her body and all the broken bones and scars she’s accumulated on her way to Tokyo.

Tokyo Olympics Predictions

Willoughby is top-ranked in BMX racing, winning gold at the 2019 BMX World Championships. She also won gold at the BMX World Championships in 2017, silver in 2014 and bronze in 2016 and 2010.

She’s been to the Olympics three times – 2012; 2016; 2020 – and she knows exactly what it takes to compete at highest level. Willoughby won silver at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Now, she wants that Olympic gold.

Her chance of reaching the podium looks solid.

Willoughby said her husband – Australian BMX star-turned-coach Sam Willoughby, plus their village of support – is what will get her there.

“I’m racing for something bigger than just me. And I’ve exceled and have been able to accept challenges better when I know I’ve got that tight-knit team around me and coming into Tokyo – it’s an environment for success,” Willoughby said.

How to Watch BMX Racing at the Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of San Diego, so this is what Willoughby’s competition times look like right now:

  • Willoughby will compete in the BMX Racing quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics on July 29 from Ariake Urban Sports Park; it’ll be 10:21 a.m. on July 29 in Tokyo but 6:21 p.m. PT in San Diego on July 28 when that event happens.
  • If she makes it through those women’s quarterfinals runs, she’ll return to the venue on July 30 for the women’s semifinals runs. That part of the competition starts at 10:15 a.m. on July 30 in Tokyo, which will be 6 p.m. on July 29 in San Diego time.

You can watch BMX Racing live here or below:

BMX Racing quarterfinals will also air on NBC sometime in the 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Olympics slot on July 29 (among other events like the rowing finals and Team USA men’s water polo).

The BMX Racing finals will air on NBC sometime in the 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Olympics slot on July 30 (among other events like Team USA women’s water polo, qualifying swimming heats and qualifying rounds for women’s springboard diving and beach volleyball).

Olympic Medals

Willoughby won silver at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Fun fact: Her husband and coach, Sam Willoughby, also has an Olympic silver medal in the sport, which he won at the London Olympics in 2012.

Where is Alise Willoughby From?

Willoughby was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on Jan. 17, 1991. She eventually moved to San Diego to go to college at the University of San Diego and also trains in Chula Vista in south San Diego County.

Other Facts About Alise Willoughby

  • She won the USA BMX Woman’s Pro Series title the same year her mom, Cheryl Post, died of late-stage melanoma
  • She has been hurt A LOT during her time as a cyclist; Willoughby talks about some of those injuries here.
  • Her family helped transform a vandalized city park in St. Cloud, Minn., into Pineview Park BMX, which is now a top-notch BMX facility in the U.S.
  • She and Sam Willoughby wed in 2017

Alise Willoughby on NBC 7's Olympic Dreams: San Diego to Tokyo Podcast

Before heading to Tokyo, Alise and Sam Willoughby joined NBC 7’s Steven Luke on our Olympic Dreams: San Diego to Tokyo podcast.

The couple talked about their shared love of their extreme sport and their inspirational journey overcoming personal tragedy.

The couple is BMX royalty. Together, they are a true team.

After a training accident left Sam Willoughby paralyzed, the couple has forged a new relationship, with Sam as Alise’s coach. On our podcast, they talk about Sam Willoughby’s accident, recovery, and life after paralysis.

Listen to them open up about their lives on our Olympic Dreams: San Diego to Tokyo podcast below:

Listen/Subscribe to NBC 7’s Olympic Dreams: San Diego to Tokyo podcast wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. On each episode, NBC 7 News Today anchor Steven Luke will sit down with athletes in their prime, each with their sights set on one thing: representing Team USA in Tokyo this summer. How will they achieve their Olympic dreams?

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