Nottingham High School Class of 2008 alumnus, Colin Varanyak, showcased his extraordinary talent and emerged victorious with a gold medal in the BMX X Games, a premier extreme sports competition akin to the Olympic Games. The event, held in Ventura, California, took place in July 2023, mesmerizing audiences with awe-inspiring displays of daring skill and athletic prowess.
Colin’s journey towards excellence commenced during his formative years in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. He attended Klockner Elementary School, where his love affair with cycling bloomed amidst the sprawling fields adjacent to the school premises. Eagerly anticipating the end of each school day, Colin would eagerly grab his bicycle and embark on thrilling trails, nurturing his passion for the sport from an early age.
At a tender age of five, Colin’s competitive journey began, actively participating in races and quickly gaining recognition for his remarkable achievements. He even fondly recalled showcasing his bike helmet and racing medals during show and tell sessions in elementary school, underscoring his deep-rooted love for racing. However, the pressures of maintaining his rigorous racing schedule alongside his academic obligations soon dimmed his passion, leading him to momentarily step away from the sport.
Nevertheless, Colin’s indomitable spirit and unyielding determination beckoned him back into the world of cycling, albeit in a different form. Transitioning into the realm of freestyle riding during his eighth-grade year, Colin discovered a newfound therapeutic escape. Although he initially harbored no intentions of competing in freestyle, he wholeheartedly pursued the sport, balancing it alongside his involvement in wrestling and track and field during his high school years.
Despite never envisaging a career in BMX, Nottingham High School teacher Ken Klek played a pivotal role in shaping Colin’s aspirations. An invaluable mentor, Klek’s course catapulted Colin’s creative abilities to new heights, enabling him to develop the essential video and photo content that would ultimately sculpt his professional career. Reflecting on his time at Nottingham High School, Colin expressed his gratitude for the supportive environment and the real-world experiences that laid the foundation for his future endeavors.
Following his graduation, Colin sought higher education at Mercer County Community College, where he spent two years before transferring to William Paterson University. It was at the latter institution that he attained his Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, specializing in grades pre-kindergarten to fifth, accompanied by a minor in History. Equipped with this educational foundation, Colin forged ahead into the world of BMX with unwavering tenacity.
BMX opened up a realm of opportunities for Colin, enabling him to traverse the globe and compete on international stages. His rigorous daily schedule encompasses a multitude of activities, including invigorating walks, exhilarating bike rides, physical workouts, as well as communication via email, social media, and interviews. Settling in San Diego, California, Colin relishes the ability to train outdoors throughout the year while deftly balancing the demands of his professional life.
During the arduous period of the Covid-19 pandemic, Colin faced the challenge of supplementing his income as a substitute teacher while contemplating the prospect of relinquishing competitive BMX and embracing a full-time career in education. However, approximately eighteen months ago, his fortunes changed dramatically as he secured a coveted sponsorship deal with Adidas. This life-altering opportunity presented Colin with the means to travel extensively, increased exposure, and involvement in numerous projects, propelling his career to new heights.
Colin’s pursuit of the gold medal in the BMX X Games was a culmination of lifelong dreams and unyielding dedication. After celebrating a silver medal accomplishment in 2018, he resolved to add the golden sheen to his accolades. The weeks leading up to the competition were steeped in meticulous preparation, encompassing intensive training sessions and unyielding commitment. Mindset played an equally crucial role as Colin recognized the indispensable value of unwavering dedication, unflagging focus, and an unwaveringly positive outlook on his journey. With only ten athletes being invited to compete worldwide in July 2023, Colin’s golden victory granted him the unprecedented honor of participating in additional contests in Ventura, California.
Extending their heartfelt congratulations to Colin, Dr. Scott Rocco, the Superintendent of Schools, expressed immense pride in witnessing the achievements of one of their esteemed former students. Colin’s triumph sheds light on the indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment that emanates from Hamilton Township, and the residents eagerly anticipate his future endeavors with bated breath.
When queried about the advice he would impart to aspiring students, Colin emphasized that success is neither instantaneous nor effortless, underscoring the pivotal importance of daily focus, unwavering dedication, and consummate professionalism. Remaining organized, presenting their best selves, and adhering to their values would enable students to navigate the path to success seamlessly. Furthermore, Colin underscored the significance of social media management and nurturing meaningful relationships while encapsulating the crucial life lessons and invaluable guidance imparted by teachers and educational institutions. Embracing the inevitability of failure and harnessing it as a catalyst for personal growth and progression stood out as a paramount principle in Colin’s journey towards extraordinary accomplishments.
Colin Varanyak’s remarkable journey from a small-town enthusiast to a triumph in international BMX competitions serves as an awe-inspiring testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and relentless pursuit of excellence. As he continues to etch chapters into the annals of BMX history, the world eagerly awaits the next enthralling episode in his extraordinary odyssey.