Podcast: Martin Soderstrom Speaks Out About Deciding to Walk Away From Competition and Personal Struggles

Jul 10, 2020
by Andrew Neethling  
Sven Martin Pic
Credit : Sven Martin

#11. Martin Soderstrom: The highs and lows of professional action sports

Martin Soderstrom burst onto the dirt jump and slopestyle mountain bike scene with early success. He experienced all the high and lows with big wins and big injuries. The friendly Swede struggled personally with the pressure of the sport and expectations on him. He speaks out about these challenges and deciding to walk away from the competitive side of the sport.


  • 23 0
 Seems to have kept all his sponsors and still gets to go to most events without having to compete. I doubt many of the fmb boys would be able to do the same without competing. Must have been a no brainer considering the level the slope riders are at now. I still wish he landed that 360 double whip at joy ride, that now feels like a decade ago.
  • 1 0
 It almost has been. I remember watching that too and pretty much dying inside when I saw him hit the dirt.
  • 3 0
 I think about this a lot.

I think skateboarding has the benefit of a huge breadth of smaller brands to sponsor different types of skating that aren’t competition based. The overall perception is that we see lots of skaters who are sponsored but aren’t in SLS like nyjah or something, but most of these smaller sponsors don’t have huge rosters and training facilities and everything that something like redbull or monster provides. I can’t help but feel like the big sponsors like red bull are there to host the top competitive athletes, though.

I do see that red bull retains a lot of athletes that no longer compete but were absolutely legendary during their competitive years and have very decorated records. In that regard, semenuk will likely always be taken care of by redbull because he’s a household name, always providing exposure.

I think over on that side of the pond, Martin does similar things influencing other people to ride and is good brand recognition over there, albeit not on the same caliber as Brandon.

But then there’s other athletes that sort of feel they miss the mark. And I hope this isn’t taken the wrong way. Carson storch was rising in slope style when he was picked up by redbull but almost immediately stopped competing in slope. That’s a weird one and I’ve always been interested in what red bull thinks about that.
  • 1 0
 @anchoricex: I always kinda felt like Red Bull was a forever sponsorship that would take care of their athletes even after the fact until Messere stopped wearing his helmet.
  • 13 0
 I'm surprised there aren't more people like Martin Söderstrom and Brandon Semenuk where they don't compete. Sports like snowboarding and skateboarding have been super anti-competition for a long time and I'm surprised that MTB isn't like that as well
  • 10 0
 In 2015 I spent a few days with Martin when he broke his leg in Alaska. My girlfriend and I had the task of getting him to an airport so he could fly home for medical help. It was a crazy few days of road block.

That being said, easily one of the most down the earth, funny, and kind people I have spent time with. There was no arrogance or conceded attitude. He was in good spirits and never stopped laughing or looking for ways to make us laugh.

I’m pumped he’s doing good. He’s a true ambassador of the sport and needs to be around. Hope you are well Martin!
  • 8 1
 I rode a lift at whistler with 3 Aussie girls...they were going on and on about how hot Martin is...kinda weird hearing FMB guys talked about like they are in a boy band...
  • 4 0
 Well to be fair the dude could easily be a model IMO so it shouldtn come as a shock. lol
  • 24 0
 I was riding a lift at Highland with 2 of my buddies.... and they were going on and on about how hot their balls were since it was like 100 degrees out.... kinda weird hearing balls talked about like they're in a boy band
  • 1 0
 @kubaner: hahahahaha
  • 1 0
 @kubaner: highland gang
  • 4 0
 That was the first podcast ever I listened to. Thanks Andrew Neethling for asking your questions in such a kind, polite way and thanks Martin Söderström for answering so honestly and courageous. Great, important content.
  • 1 0
 Thank you very much Andrew and Martin for that super honest and personal talk! Going through some struggles myself ATM after a quite successful time and will definitely listen to some of Martin's recommendations for getting back on track.
  • 5 4
 Have never had any sponsorship, do not totally understand pressures put on a rider at very top level, but do know that struggling to get to races or other competitions really takes the fun out of it!
  • 2 0
 We need more ambassadors of the sport. Pros like Ratboy travels the world stoking out even old guys in the USA!!!! We need more guys to do this.
  • 2 0
 Great career already, Look forward to seeing what he does. Top 15 at Rampage one year.
  • 2 0
 Love your riding and style keep doing what makes you happy. Ride well.
  • 2 0
 Everybody's different.

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