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Three-year-old Ottawa BMX racer impressing the world

An up-and-coming BMX bike racer in south Ottawa is making strides on the track and waves on social media after earning first place against athletes nearly five-times his age.

At just three years old, West Willison rolls into every race with his best foot forward. Competing in the strider division, he has yet to earn pedals, and must push his way to the top.

"As soon as he wants to come out I’ll come out I’m happy to do it with him," said Joel Willison, West's father. "We have four kids and they all wanted to bike at the same time so we all BMX. I don’t know how many other sports that I can get into where I can have my kids like going with me together."

While West is the youngest of his siblings, his rookie year has already generated quite a bit of attention after last week's shocking and unexpected win against elite competition.

"There are races every week held for all different age groups all different divisions and typically we come and there is other kids to race and this race there happened to be no kids," says Aly Marcotte, West’s mother. "There is really an emphasis on making this a great experience for all of the kids that are coming out and you can see it in those teenagers the way that they came out and said this kids not going to have a race if we don’t do this and they put themselves out there just to make his day for no other reason then to make him happy and these are elite athletes, high quality racers that were not using their pedals, [they were] using their feet to scoot along it was just a wonderful feeling."

Marcotte posted the video of her son's victorious lap, which went viral.

"It’s a bit over 10 million views at this point," she says. "I thought it would make some other people smile and I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that millions of people would be watching it and sharing it and liking it and the response has just been incredible."

But when asking West what it all means for him, he remains humble, saying "I don’t know."

But he does like the hardware that comes with a win. Dangling around his neck are half-a-dozen medals, which he says is his drive to win.

"We’ll take it as far as he wants," says Joel. "And the community here at the track has been amazing every time we come here someone steps up to help in some way."

And it is a mantra for the Nepean BMX Association which Sofia Damm, a board member and volunteer, says prides itself on helping athletes of all ages to develop the skills and integrity to compete.

"We have people over 60 years old riding here on the weekly races," says Damm. "I’m so happy to be able to help this track to grow in our city." Top Stories

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