Text by Effraim.
As I was writing the intro for “defining moments of 2011″, Martti’s announced his decision to retire, the news spread like wildfire, all over Facebook, twitter, instagram, websites, blogs. I’m sure many like me were in disbelief at his decision, but i’m equally sure that most do not understand and perhaps cannot understand the depths he went to push himself this year.
2011 was without a doubt “his year” if there is such a thing, January 2011 kicked off with Round 2 of Martti’s groundtactics contest, dominated by Aki and James White. Martti then proceeded to drop videos almost daily at various periods of time throughout the course of the year each with at least three new tricks, giving us all motivation throughout the year, I can remember sharing the videos back and forth with him for a few months, In January we set about with the concept “to document, share and progress” a few months into the clips I made the joke to Martti “hey it’s 14-14″ (clips each), from that point I got demolished, it was fun sharing new tricks/ideas/ videos and progressing as a result of Martti pushing me, Martti commented in his retirement statement “when I started published on youtube I felt that I am obligated to motivate other riders and show them “a better way”. It all got mixed up in my head and I was in a position that I could not relax at all, because new tricks were haunting me moment after moment.”
martti kuoppa – bmx flatland at the nec bike show in 2002 from matt dyer on Vimeo.
Great video by Matthew Dyer, from 2002!
Some people have commented that the edits/clips could have been more polished, and got lost in the sheer volume he produced them, that may well be the case, but these people missed the point of the clips, it’s nice sometimes to take away all the clutter and just have the tricks! No gloss! The tricks were there for all to see without long winded intros, etc.
I don’t think any one rider has single handedly motivated “all” of flatland like MK did in 2011. It was an unselfish act, for sure, and he documented a beautifully pure progressive time period in his riding career. This year, Martti opened my eyes to a new side of flatland, I can’t thank him enough for his continued motivation, most of this came honestly, just from me being a flatland fan of his riding, I would watch his videos as you probably did in amazement, and message him, with ideas, the next day or two there would be a video with maybe a variation of the idea I suggested, throughout my 29 years riding. I have never met a rider like him, he really understood what flatland is, what it can be, and most of all, it wasn’t all about him, these videos he published were about motivating others, an unselfish act that flatland as a whole could do with more of, he had what it took to perform at the highest level whether competition, or video part at the same time, not to many can say that, his name will be remembered forever, a true flatland god! What he has left will continue to leave his mark for years to come…
As I was typing this, a thought came into my head….
Flatground 06, leading up to the event Martti was off his bike for about 2-3 weeks possibly longer with an injury, he came to event “cold”, he barely rode in practise, quietly going through qualifying and battle by battle, until the final battle, he dropped a never seen trick before, double infront of bar whip to crackpacker, that point always brings a smile to my face, it was a beautiful moment. There are of course countless other moments during his career, but this one always sticks in my mind.
Take a moment to think about all his his videos, and his attempt to motivate “you”…
Role reversal….What about, if you are in his position, When your that good, what motivates you?……
I guess it’s up to all of us reading this to keep the flatland flame burning bright! I would like to personally Thank Martti for all the great memories over his 21 year riding career! 2011 is the end of a huge era!
A true artist in every sense of the word that will be missed…A true riders rider, that I will always call “The Boss”..