2016-09-22 / Community News

BMX professional speaks to TA students about drug use

Speaker Tony Hoffman delivered a talk to the Thornton Academy student body on Sept. 12, where he shared his personal story, filled with “the highest peaks and lowest valleys,” to encourage students to make good life choices and exemplify positive attitudes. Hoffman previously competed as a BMX Elite Pro and recently coached Women’s BMX Pro Brooke Crain to a fourth-place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. However, his bicycle motocross career has been marred by a struggle with drug addiction that he said has tested his character in the most extreme ways.

As Hoffman walked around Linnell Gym, addressing each class of students, he said, “there’s someone in here who needs to hear what I have to say.” He provided insight on the realities of poor decision-making regarding drugs: “There’s a door that, once you go through it, you can’t turn around and walk out. The only way to get back is through a casket or a fight for your life.”

Hoffman said he decided to turn his life around by becoming sober, learning from his mistakes, and adjusting his attitude. He travels across the country to share his story with young adults to help them make healthy choices and develop leadership skills, while implementing substance abuse prevention. He also founded and serves as director for the nonprofit, The Freewheel Project, which mentors thousands of youth through action sports including BMX, skateboarding and after-school programs.

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