Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå to be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
One of the most successful mountain bike racers of all time, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå has been inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, with her 10 x World Champions, 9 x European Champions, Olympic Gold in Athens 2004 and 30 World Cup wins standing as a lasting testament to her achievements.
“It’s a great honour to be part of this group of influential personalities within the global cycling community. It’s also something special for me to be presented on this honourable «wall» alongside the greats of the sport like Wolfgang Renner. Mountain biking has always been more than just riding and racing, and I am glad that I could bring the sport closer to many people”, commented Gunn-Rita on her achievement.
Besides being a dominant force in XCO and mountain bike marathon racing from her early start in 1996 all the way to 2018, when she hung up the racing wheels, Gunn-Rita used her platform to advocate cycling as a sport, particularly amongst women, and as a sustainable way of transport in general. As a result, Gunn-Rita has been cited as a significant influence by her former competitors and the wider riding world, helping to make the sport what it is today.
Over the last few years, she has had a key role in youth rider development in Norway, running multiple kid’s riding camps. After her professional racing career came to an end, Gunn-Rita managed to turn her interest and passion for cycling as a sustainable way of transport into a job. For the last few years, she has worked for the local government in her native county of Rogaland. She is involved in promoting safe travel, championing the bicycle as a day-to-day form of transport, plus extending and developing the regional cycling network for both work and play.
All these aspects combined underline her significant impact on the sport of mountain biking and cycling, and we are excited for our long-standing MERIDA family member to be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.
When asked which of her many exploits meant the most to her, Gunn-Rita replied: “I am lucky to look back at a long list of racing achievements, but I am also immensely proud to have represented MERIDA for the last 20 years as well as being able to share my experiences with many young riders, including my 13-year-old son. I am excited to see what lies ahead.”
Of course, while Gunn-Rita has had a huge impact on the sport herself, she also expressed her thanks to those who helped her on this amazing journey. Her parents encouraged her in her cycling exploits, and her coach and partner Kenneth worked hard to help create the right conditions for her to succeed. She also looked to those in the sport who had gone before her, saying: “While there is not one particular person in the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame that influenced my cycling career, it is the drive to improve ourselves and to learn from the best, which is very prominent amongst the other members of the Hall of Fame, that pushed me on throughout my career and beyond”.
To find out more about the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and to read about the other 2022 inductees, please click here.