Having personally experienced both the highs and lows of his sport—BMX racing—Winston-Salem native Justin Posey loves sharing his story around the community where he grew up. As a bonus, he’s inspiring kids and teens in the area with some powerful life lessons he’s learned along the way.
As the marketing coordinator for USA BMX Foundation—a non-profit that provides educational resources to youth-teaching professionals—Justin speaks to local school groups with a message to “Fail Better.”
“My message is based on the fact that you are going to get knocked down and fail many times,” says Justin. “It’s about how you bounce back and keep trying to be successful in what you are passionate about.”
The foundation offers incredible programs to schools and after-school programs across the country. Even though he currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona, Justin is dedicated to giving back to Winston-Salem every chance he can via youth clinics and school speeches. Honoring his BMX racing and community outreach, he was recently inducted into the Reagan High School Hall of Fame.
When he’s interacting with local student groups (he’s spoken at around 25 elementary-, middle-, and after-school programs), Justin loves seeing familiar faces.
“I talk about the hard times and injuries I’ve had to overcome during my BMX career,” he explains. “It was so cool to speak to the elementary and middle schools I attended.”
As a BMX scholar-athlete, Justin was fortunate to attend college on a cycling scholarship. He was blessed to compete both for his school and his country at the world level, while still earning his degree.
“The flexibility of BMX being a collegiate sport allowed me to flourish as a professional while chipping away at a business degree,” he says.
While a major biking accident (requiring back, shoulder, and dental surgeries) kept him from participating in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Justin does plan on making a run for the 2020 games in Tokyo, Japan.
“I would love a second chance at the trials,” he says. “I feel I gained experience and knowledge during the 2016 trials that will be beneficial next time around.”
Believing his experience with injury and set-back truly opened his eyes to many things, Justin speaks to students about how his adversity made him so very thankful for family and friends.
“You see who means the most to you and who cares to help you heal, both physically and emotionally. I believe it truly tested my will to succeed, and my goal is to show these kids that no matter how hard life gets, you have to keep fighting for what you want. You will fail along the way and come up short more times than not, but that is what makes it sweeter in the end,” he explains.
One of Justin’s favorite inspirational quotes is from NBA player and motivator Dwyane Wade: “I have failed more times than I have not, and that is what makes success sweeter.”
“That really resonates with me,” says Justin. “For the kids, I try to relate it to not making a team (basketball, football, etc.) or getting a bad grade on a test. I emphasize to keep trying no matter what.”
When he’s home in North Carolina, Justin loves revisiting the Tanglewood track, which brings back such good memories of learning how to ride and spending time with his family and friends. Justin enjoys helping with clinics as often as possible, and hopes more and more kids will get to feel the joy he experiences every single day.
“In a sport that has taken me all around the world, I love seeing young kids start and have fun. The grin on their faces riding the track for the first time never gets old,” he smiles.
Learn more about the group’s outstanding programs at usabmxfoundation.org.