Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto is the Michael Jordan of his sport.
Villopoto, like Jordan, even has shoes named after him (by Vans).
Like Jordan, he’s capable of the spectacular, but he usually makes it look easy.
Because of the sustained success he’s achieved over the last two years, Villopoto’s become the biggest thing in Supercross (stadium) and motorcross (outdoor) racing since Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael.
BJ Smith of ESPN.com talked to Villopoto recently and the Kawaski rider reiterated that he’s likely not going to hang around just to break records. A year ago before the race at CenturyLink in Seattle, he told me the same thing. He said people have no idea about the physical pounding your body takes in his sport. I compared it to what an NFL running back goes through.
I asked about his career goals and RV2 said he’s not out to break records or go down in history as the greatest ever or anything like that.
“It’s just to race and try to have as much fun as I can,” he said. “And also make a career out of it to where when I’m done, when I retire at 26 or 27 or whenever I decide to, I won’t have to work anymore.”
Villopoto’s 23 now, and he’s probably already achieved that goal of not having to work anymore. He’s won eight of the first 13 Supercross races (23 of 61 overall in his four years on the 450cc bikes), clinching the title for a second straight year with four races left. Nobody’s ever clinched that early. Villopoto’s already practicing and making plans to defend his outdoor moorcross title.
I don’t know if there’s been a more dominating professional athlete from Kitsap County than Ryan Villopoto. He’s got homes in Florida and California but most of his family remains in Kitsap County. Villopoto still slips in and out of the area without a lot of fanfare.
Villopoto races in New Orleans this week, returns to Seattle for the April 21 race, and closes the Supercross season with races at Salt Lake City (April 28) and Las Vegas (May 5).
Villopoto enjoyed a million dollar payday in Vegas last October when he won the first Monster Energy Cup, winning all three races handily over a hybrid Supercross/motocross course.
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