The first Red Bull 3EN1 presented by Surf’in event was held at the Péitruss skatepark with over 2,000 urban sports participants
Celebrating Luxembourg with BMX champ Viki Gomez
Originally from Madrid, Spain, Jorge “Viki” Gomez is an elite BMX flatland athlete who has won the official world championships three times. He shares his hopes with Delano on the future of urban sport and sustainable mobility.
Throughout the year, Celebrating Luxembourg profiles the people who contribute positively to the grand duchy’s international reputation.
France Clarinval: You are seen as a shining ambassador for Luxembourg. How do you take this?
Viki Gomez: It would truly be a great honour to be seen as an ambassador for Luxembourg, as I love living here and felt heartily welcomed here since day one. On top of that, my sport is highly appreciated here due to its national history, and this also contributes to me feeling like I’m part of this nation and its future progression in promoting sport, health and sustainable solutions, for example, the use of bicycles in the city.
What are three important dates in your career?
Winning the official world championships three times, being awarded the ‘International Number One BMX Flatland Rider’ NORA Cup Awards three times, and getting married to my wife, Alexandra, who is Luxembourgish and manages my daily business and global bookings with sponsors and live show demonstrations.
How has the ride/skate and BMX culture developed in Luxembourg?
I moved to Luxembourg in July 2012 and at first the urban/action sport scene in Luxembourg City was pretty small, a bit more common in the south. Slowly I made a name for myself in the capital where I live, and later came to know a wider demographic. Many youngsters took an interest in starting outdoor sport, be it BMX, skating, scooter, even parkour, and action sports had a huge take-off. At the same time, social media and video apps helped promote the entrepreneurial, athletic mindset in a lot of free-minded youngsters.
It’s amazing to see how the urban sport community has grown. In June 2017, together with a local sport shop and my management team, GG.M., we held the first ‘Red Bull 3EN1 presented by Surf’in’ at the Péitruss skatepark which was a huge success with over 2,000 urban sports participants and another 1,000 spectators, and we had a great time and lots of good summer vibes outdoors. I look forward to its second edition in 2018, hopefully, and this way the scene might grow even more.
How did you end up in Luxembourg?
Love brought me here. My beautiful wife, Alexandra, is of Luxembourgish and Egyptian origin, and she wanted to return to her home and native country after she graduated from law school and her masters in international sports law. After having lived in Stockholm, London and Madrid together, we decided to move to the calmest capital of central Europe, Luxembourg City--a wise decision.
What are Luxembourg’s strengths and weaknesses?
By far its greatest strength is its diversity: nationalities, cultures, which brings a wider, more open-minded mentality. On the other hand, the weakness, in my opinion, is the lack of a common language. If there are 190 nationalities in Luxembourg, and since Luxembourg is a country that has as many international people as would a large international airport, then a common language should be applicable, and that would be English.
Around 1,000 spectators were present at the skatepark event. Photo: Vikigomez.com
What do you miss about your home country?
Lots… Jamón ibérico, my parents and friends. Fortunately for me, there are two Spanish TV channels here, Spanish restaurants and a huge Spanish-speaking community which helps me back into my comfort zone whenever needed.
What does Luxembourg need to do to remain a competitive player in today’s world?
Other factors that have changed drastically since 2012 is that a huge expat community has come to Luxembourg City, and since most expats come from highly advanced countries with lots of modern standards, Luxembourg eventually would need to consider making these available to everyone. Examples would be having grocery stores with longer opening hours every day of the week, restaurants open the entire day, longer opening hours of pharmacies and other commercial businesses, as well as having English more available in service-oriented spaces. Luxembourg is doing an amazing movement and probably no other country in the world has such a fast growing market and open-minded way of applying new standards for the people. But I would love to see more and improved bicycle roads and stands for the growing bike commuters, for better flow and, thus, less heavy traffic in the centre.
In 2017 Maison Moderne and Nvision celebrate Luxembourg by profiling 100 people who contribute positively to the country’s international reputation and brand image. The series will culminate in a gala evening on 13 December at Luxembourg Congrès.