Rebecca Sams – FEMALE ATHLETE of the YEAR 2023 has thanked her sponsors, family and her NIAS family for the support that has enabled her to pursue her dreams of competing at the highest level in Gravity Enduro and Downhill Mountain Biking.  

A member of the NIAS Mountain Bike squad for the past year, Rebecca has shown incredible discipline, commitment and development in her sport, resulting in her being awarded NIAS Female Athlete of the Year at the Annual Academy Awards this month.

“Two wheels and a piece of carbon may not seem like much but they are the key to my happiness,” Rebecca said during her recorded acceptance speech at last week’s NIAS Annual Academy Awards.

Rebecca was unable to attend the Awards in person as she was in Victoria at the Mornington Peninsula competing in the Gravity Enduro National Championships;  her penultimate annual race.  

“It’s not just about racing and riding for me, it’s about embracing the challenges and pushing myself to become a better athlete and a better person every day.  

“I owe a huge part of this journey to my amazing coaches, Alyssa and Crummy they have been my mentors and friends rolled into one.  

“Their ability to direct me through my daydreaming, their large bucket of patience for me and their belief in me have been incredible motivators. I hope to make them proud not just with this award but with my continued dedication to the sport.  

“I also want to express my gratitude to my sponsors Turner Cycles and Giant Australia. Without their backing I wouldn’t have the equipment and resources to compete at this level.   

“As a 15-year-old girl, this award means the world to me, it is a reminder that hard work, passion and dedication can take you places, even at a young age.  

“Thank you NIAS for this incredible honour – now to get back on my bike and continue chasing my dreams!!!

Rebecca’s future plans include competing in World Cups as part of a factory team for Gravity Enduro and Downhill events. She intends to use 2024 as an opportunity to grow in the gravity space by participating in state and national competitions and using club races to learn new skills while gaining recognition on the trails.

Rebecca’s mum, Elsie has been on the bike right beside her daughter from the beginning – participating in the first Gravity race alongside her at the Rocky Trail Superflow in Awaba, near Newcastle. However, from the age of just one, Rebecca’s mother would encourage her to ride, even pushing her up the top of local trails and allowing her to bomb down on her balance bike.

“NIAS has changed my recreational riding style into something far more athletic and driven, it has provided me with learning opportunities and I have now discovered the Gravity Scene which I am so enthusiastic about,” Rebecca said.