Updated: November 20, 2009, 1:32 PM ET

Back On Track: Eddy King

Following a twenty-one year hiatus from racing, retired pro racer Eddy King is back on a BMX bike. And his mission is simple: race the ABA Grands, rep Stay Strong and support Stephen Murray.

Nugent By Pat Nugent
ESPN Action Sports
Archive

/photo/2009/1120/as_bmx_eddykingtop_576.jpgFrom left to right: Eddy King, Stephen Murray and Free Agent TM Dale Holmes.

Honestly, I was 3 years old when Eddy King put down his BMX bike to pursue a career in real estate. And the only time I had ever even heard his name was when someone was talking about the King brothers (Mike and Eddy), because I knew who his brother Mike King was. But just recently I learned that Eddy was teaming up with Free Agent and Stay Strong Apparel to run Stay Strong colors at the ABA grands and 2010 season. Thanks to the ease of social networking sites, I tracked down Eddy and fired a few questions over to him about the past and present, and how he hooked up with Stephen Murray, Dale Holmes and the Stay Strong campaign.

When you left the BMX scene to pursue a career in real estate, did you put your bike down and completely walk away?
I did for many years while I focused on my real estate career. It would be only on occasional invite to grab a MTB and head out to the trails to ride with friends. I was rarely ever seen at a BMX track, until the kind folks at Diamond Back bikes gave me a bike this year. Then I started showing up riding at the local tracks and decided to return at the ABA Grands in Tulsa.

/photo/2009/1120/as_bmx_eddyking_200.jpg
Eddy King, circa 1980.

While your brother Mike kept riding, did you ever get the itch to come back sooner?
Not really, I was burnt out and ready for a change. What I did miss was some of the travel and camaraderie of the BMX community. However I have kept in touch with many of my BMX friends through the Internet and several reunions over the years. I did not miss the race schedules and not being home for special events, and holidays. Now I can enjoy leisure time, wakeboarding, boating, skiing and golf.

How do you feel about the tracks of 2009 as opposed to the tracks that were raced in the '80s?
Actually I love everything about racing in 2009, the tracks, the BMX equipment, and the techniques used in racing today. I particularly like the fact that the tracks have harder surfaces, more jumps, and the straightaways are more technical. The equipment has changed drastically for the better; it's lighter, stronger, stiffer, increasing the track speeds. Being clipped in is new to me, and I like it. In the '80s one of my weak areas was slipping my pedals!


It is my sincere wish and hope that through this endeavor, people will be inspired by Stephen Murray as I am.

--Eddy King


How did you hook up with Stay Strong and Free Agent?
Stephen Murray's accident made a big impact on me. I kept track of his progress through the Internet and was inspired by his courage, his positive outlook, and determination. I was impressed the way the BMX community came together for him. Dale Holmes is a mutual friend of ours, so when I decided to support Stephen Murray and his Stay Strong message I contacted Dale, who put me in contact with the people at Stay Strong and the Murray's. Everything has fallen into place since then, as if it was meant to be. After meeting Stephen Murray and spending time with him, I am more impressed than ever and amazed by his strength and optimism. I am proud to be riding for Stay Strong.

/photo/2009/1120/as_bmx_eddykingcovers_576.jpgEarly BMXA covers featuring Eddy King.

What is it like coming back to BMX 20 years later and just jumping straight into the biggest race of the year?
Getting back into BMX has been a challenging new experience for me. It's been 21 years since I last raced the ABA Grand Nationals. Getting back into training, and basically relearning a sport that I spent so many years a part of is like embarking on a new chapter in my life, at times difficult, but always rewarding. I am eagerly looking forward to the race. It will be exciting, perhaps a bit thrilling, and I am anticipating a memorable experience.

Anyone you would like to thank?
Definitely, I owe many people and companies a huge thank you, beginning with Diamond Back Bicycles, Oakley, Intense BMX, Exustar Shoes, SixSixOne, GHP, GunSlinger Bikes, ODI grips, Dog Tags Designs, ABA, all my riding buddies in the 619, and foremost, Stay Strong and Stephen Murray.

/photo/2009/1120/as_bmx_staystrongframe_576.jpgFree Agent's limited edition Stay Strong frame. Only 200 of these frames are being produced, with a percentate of the proceeds going to Stephen Murray and Stay Strong.

It is my sincere wish and hope that through this endeavor, people will be inspired by Stephen Murray as I am. Stay Strong products are available at staystrongapparel.com. Join me in supporting Stephen Murray and Stay Strong. "Stay Strong, not just a saying but a way of life." -Eddy King

To pick up the latest Stay Strong jersey, limited edition Stay Strong/Free Agent framesets, head on over to 310ProShop.

MORE ACTION SPORTS HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM