Nicholi Rogatkin was not only the most successful but also belonged to the most active athletes on the FMB World Tour this year. Travelling to three different continents really paid off for him in 2016. Despite a disappointing performance at Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler there was no time for gloom. Thanks to his dedication to finish his run after having hit the dirt hard off a cork 720, it was just enough for the title. After winning the FMB Diamond Series, the new 2016 FMB World Champ took the time to talk through his stellar season.First of all, congrats Nicholi! The amount of nerves it must take to shake off a crash like you did and still send a run full of tricks down to the bottom is impressive. What did you think when you went down hard, biting the dust and what made you decide to follow through with it?
Honestly, there were mixed feelings throughout that run. I was very frustrated and almost in disbelief that I had a huge crash so early in the run. But I knew I had to get up and do the rest of my run. The World Championship was at stake. I knew every single point could be vital at the end of the day. That's why I made sure to get up and trick my way down the course even in a throwaway run. That perseverance paid off in a big way at the end of the day.Did you have to think your run through again or did you just stick to the plan?
I stuck to the original plan. I definitely went a little safer on several features because the last thing I wanted to do was crash again. Let’s look back a bit. The season really got going in Rotorua where you came second and landed your Twister in during a contest for the first time. How important was the first FMB Diamond Event for achieving what you have this season?
That event meant a lot to me. It was a very emotional experience for all of us riders, as the event was completely dedicated to Kelly. I was very satisfied to do a dream run including the Twister at the end, and get on the podium. Looking back on it now, it was vital to the Championship at the end of the season. After New Zealand you did a lot of travelling in Europe and also took part in contests. How important is it to you to get out and about and see new places?
Traveling is easily one of best parts of a career as a mountain bike rider. We all have the best times everywhere we go and are stoked we get to experience so many different cultures and parts of the world others don't get to see.You took part in four Gold and Silver contests in three different countries (Switzerland, Austria, and France). Which contest did you like best and why?
Swatch Rocket Air had to be one of the best contests of the season. The crowd there is absolutely mental, getting incredibly loud for all the riders. Max and I battled it out and ended up first and second, which was epic as well. After winning Swatch Rocket Air you could have sat back and relaxed having already scored the best possible Gold result, but you kept driving on. In which way did competing at other contests support you in achieving your goals? How important was this?
Riding in contests is always good times. Even though I could have sat back, traveling with all the guys is the best, and competing is the greatest practice. The more competition practice you have, the better chance there is that you will be ready for bigger contests and pressurizing situations in the future.At Swatch Prime Line you finally secured your first win at an FMB Diamond Event after coming so close at other events in the past. What went differently this year? What was the key?
The key this year was confidence. I put together a run that I was 100% confident in, so when I dropped in the stress was minimal. Thankfully, my run scored the highest at the end of the day and I finally got that much-desired Diamond Event win.Before Red Bull Joyride you again competed at the FMB Gold Event at the Colorado Freeride Festival. Other than the fact that it was the only US Event this side of Joyride, in which way did it help you to prepare for Joyride?
The level of competition at CFF was mental this year. Even in qualifying riders were doing incredible runs. All of us had to execute our runs 100% to get a good result. That level of riding was great preparation for Joyride, as we got a taste of the riding we would have to do only a couple weeks later.Red Bull Joyride must have been bittersweet for you. Were you nervous at any point that Max actually may make the nearly impossible become reality?
I knew that Max and Brett both had the ability to knock me off the top step that day. They both did incredible runs and ended up on the podium, so I was super stoked for them. Of course, them making the nearly impossible become reality came to mind a couple of times.Were there mixed feelings in Whistler or did happiness take over after a difficult day's work?
There were a lot of mixed feelings. Of course, I was disappointed to crash two runs at Red Bull Joyride. However, winning the World Champion Title made me look back on a year of hard work and success. It brought a lot of reminiscent thoughts of everything that went into that Championship season.Looking back at the whole FMB World Tour season so far, what is the first picture that comes to your mind and that may stick forever?
So many pictures come to mind that will stick forever. However, the biggest one has to be the memory of landing my run in Rotorua, pointing to Kelly on my jersey and hearing the crowd's ovation for that. It made me proud to represent a legend of our sport and have him with me on one of the greatest runs of my life. I know he was looking down from above and felt the love from myself and from everyone witnessing that. That is something I'll definitely never forget.You’ve had an unbelievable season. What’s up next for you? Will you be competing at other events on the FMB World Tour this year?
Next for me is the same as always: riding my bike and trying to progress MTB as much as possible.Thanks so much Nicholi and congrats once again to becoming the FMB World Champion 2016!
Photos by Ale Di Lullo / Bartek Wolinski / Richkphotogrpahy
/ @aledilullo / @wolisphoto