|We're lucky because we can share the stories of how Steve inspired us and everyone around him, but also the stories that made him a little more human. Although, maybe only super humans can handle a whole can of snus...- Miranda Miller|
We all knew Stevie was special, right out of the gate the kid had those eyes – crazy eyes, just crazy, crazy eyes. A very select few have them and just watching him 'give zero f*cks' on the tracks was stunning, to say the least – all confidence. I came across a photo of Steve and I when I was senior national champ and he was a junior national champ and looking back gave me goosebumps, I was always a super fan of that kid. He just oozed awesome and that day was no different – he looked hungry to win. After that I changed from racer to industry guy and I had two 'talents' I worked with. Watching them win World Cups or slopestyle's gave me that super proud dad feeling but also just gave me the deepest anxious pit in my stomach as I stood trackside - or wore the jersey while watching on the couch. I rode the highs and rode the lows but I never gave up - I knew we had champions. This is the part where I realize I’m getting older and more comfortable with expressing my feelings - I was just so proud, so proud I would almost cry while the hair just stood up on the back of my neck. This past week I lost a friend that rewarded me with so much of that 'hair-on-end' on and off the track. I watched as Steve and my little brother split drinking the bar mat at my wedding, as we hit Europe for the first time, and as we literally sat in the back of the Cove bike shop as the hair on his face started showing. Steve touched everyone around him and I’m reminded of this spectacular feat every day. That’s what made him stand out.
Words by Tyler Morland
I can’t believe I have known, raced with, then worked with Steve for bang on ten years now. I have watched him grow up, mature, and learn to harness the untamed beast of raw natural talent and bursting drive to become one of the sport's greatest. As the podiums turned to wins and the medals became titles Stevie remained unchanged through it all. Nothing and no one was beneath him, you would just as soon see him helping set up the pits as wash his bike and make his own lunch. Greatness never changed who he was on and off the bike.
For a photographer he was easy to shoot, he always gave it 100%, made every practice run count, he had poise, style and rode with effortless ease. But he was always that much more leaned over, looser, and lower than most others which always resulted in his shots rising to the top. As we all know if it could be sent he would send it, what seemed reckless for others was calculated for Stevie. It was tough after his passing as countless shots of mine seemed to pop up online in tribute posts from friends, fans, and fellow racers from every corner of the globe, each a painful reminder of a happier time we shared. However, the common thread between them all was his infectious mischievous grin that never left his face no matter the result of the race. You will be missed but your spirit will remain on.
Words by Sven Martin
The first time I remember meeting Stevie was trackside in Schladming in 2007. I had a big crash in front of him and knocked the wind out of myself and he was the first one to come up to me to check if I was okay. Then two years later, in 2009, we were teammates. There are too many stories that come to my mind so it's hard to pick one out. A lot of the stuff I had already forgotten about, but it did bring smiles and tears on my face thinking about all the stuff we did that season we were teammates.
One thing is for sure, it was always a good laugh with Stevie. Random stuff like him carrying me back home in his arms after being too drunk to walk home, to buying handmade slingshots from the street in South-Africa, jumping a rental car in Bromont, Stevie shaving his butt hair and explaining how silky smooth it was to wipe his bottom, him jumping out of the car on a safari to get a photo taken with rhinos - so many funny moments that year.
When it came to racing he took it really seriously. I have never met anyone who was so determined and hard working as Steve.
I will never forget that cheeky grin and laugh. You will be sorely missed!
Words by Matti Lehikoinen
Stevie and I were both in similar situations growing up - a couple of reckless groms with big dreams. Dreams that required the same instrument, but we had different end goals. I think we gravitated to each other for those reasons. There was no rivalry, just the hunger to go out and entertain our teenage selves, wether it was on or off the bike. These good times continued for eight great years and will be forever cherished memories. So proud of Stevie for making those teenage dreams come to fruition and for never letting it stand in the way of a good time.
Words by Brandon Semenuk
|Stevie stepped up and lived the reality and responsibility of what it took to fulfil his dream. He piled that lofty mountainous goal onto his hardworking Vancouver Islander shoulders and made room with his kind heart for the weight in hopes and dreams of our entire nation, all the while keeping that epic smile on his face. He took us all along on the ride of our lives - witnessing him become the fastest mountain biker in the world... especially on those rowdy rainy days. Thank you Stevie, shine on you crazy diamond, your legend is forever.- Sterling Lorence|
Probably one one the coolest memories of Stevie that I have from the 5 years we worked together would be La Bresse, 2011. It was our first year together, and the first year for DGR. It was just myself, Stevie, and George Brannigan. Our accommodation was about 20 km from the pits but we only had the race van to get around in, which didn’t work so well with people needing to get to and from the pits at different times. Sabrina Jonnier kindly lent Stevie her car for the weekend and it was pretty funny watching him rock up to the pits each day in a metallic pink Honda Jazz! But what really stands out in my memory is how every day after practice, Stevie would go back to our accommodation, shower, then cook dinner for all three of us, then bring my dinner down to the pits whilst it was still hot in the way that almost reminds you of how your mother would, with foil or plates on top of things to keep them warm, and everything nicely packaged up. He would then insist I stopped working to sit down and eat, and would then stay to keep me company until around 10:30pm when he would apologise that he needed to get to bed and head back home. It was pouring rain and cold the whole weekend so a warm meal and friendly company in the pits at night was a saviour for me. Steve qualified second to Aaron Gwin that weekend, so come Sunday afternoon it was the first time we were at the top of the hill right at the end - the silence hung heavy in the air, punctuated by the roar of the crowd at the bottom, with just a couple of riders, mechanics, and the starter. In the same atmosphere at Leogang 2 years later, he showed amazing composure when the World Cup overall was his to win and win it he did. In style. Fast forward to 2016, once again in France for a World Cup, it’s the night before race day, and Stevie is sat in the living room cutting his tires for the race. After, he helped wash dishes and clean the kitchen. It will always amaze me that even after reaching the top of our sport, he was still the most down to earth guy out there - a true champion, as a racer, and more importantly, as a person.
Words by Nigel Reeve
|This was definitely an unexpected tragedy. Still seems surreal. I haven't lost many friends and it never seems to get any easier. Stevie was a good friend and I will forever miss that mischievous smile. What can I say that hasn't been said already? I know the world has lost a hero and role model, but I have lost a friend. I can't imagine what his family and closest friends are going through. The only thing that helps is knowing that his inspiration and positive influence will always outweigh this pain. I know in my heart that, as this pain subsides with time, that the memories and influence he has had will enrich the lives of everyone he touched.- Rob Venables|
|The Sport has lost a legend in the making. A guy that left it all out on the race course, not one to hold back or play it safe. The world needs people like that! It is beyond difficult to type this knowing we won't see him swing a leg over a bike again. He lived for racing and riding. More importantly we have lost a great human and a role model to the kids of tomorrow!- Andrew Neethling|
Stevie’s story is irresistible: small town boy raised by a single mother to become the fastest rider in the world. That summary doesn’t capture why we rooted for Stevie though. His ineffable charm, his boyish enthusiasm, his fierce competitiveness, his appreciation for the life he earned with hard work and raw talent. Stevie became the rider we all wanted to be growing up. He represented Canada at the international level in an event where we’d never had a winner. In a sport dominated by French, British, and Australian riders, he stood out as Lone Canadian. I loved his honesty in interviews, how he’d never hide his stoke or disappointment in his riding that day. I’ve never been a fan of spectator sports, but I found myself waking up at absurd times to watch Stevie race on the World Cup circuit. I cried when he won it all in 2013. I can’t imagine how Tiann, his mother must have felt. Since Seasons, Stevie’s influence could be seen in all the young riders attempting to follow his tire tracks on Mt. Prevost. His legacy will be carried on by all the kids who tell their parents ‘’I want to ride like Stevie,’’ as they’re shuttled to the top for one more lap before dark. Thank you Chainsaw for representing Canada so proudly and for giving me something to cheer for. I’m lucky to have called you a friend.
Words by Scott Secco
|Steve is, and forever will be, a role model to so many of us. He pushed so many of us to be the best we could be in every aspect of life; whether it was on the track or just being a good person. His contagious smile and love for his family, friends and bike racing is something I will always remember. Thanks for the good times Stevie, they and you will never be forgotten!- Mckay Vezina|
It was 2008 and Red Bull Canada contacted me about this up and coming downhill mountain bike athlete named Stevie Smith. I was already being contracted by Red Bull Canada to train their motocross athletes. They figured my training approach might work well for downhill MTB, and specifically, Stevie. Shortly after, Stevie and I had a meeting, and I guess things clicked. Long story short, we worked together for 5 years, during which Stevie won the 2013 UCI World Cup series.
I guess I could say his success is mainly due to my assistance. That my guidance wins championships. But I don’t truly believe that. What I believe is this: I have been fortunate to work with many amazing athletes over the past 20 or so years, and through it all, you begin to recognize a few similarities. From my experience, these are similarities that allow certain individuals to reach lofty goals. Stevie was certainly one of those individuals.
Through my training guidance, I provide my athletes with a recipe, but they must make the meal (so to speak). During Stevie’s and my time together, we discussed much more than athletics and bike performance, we also discussed life. We discussed what life was teaching us. I challenged Stevie. Stevie challenged me. From all this, we both learned. We accepted the positive and the negative equally. This approach to Stevie’s life started well before I came into it. I am not sure if it came from his upbringing, whether he’s a ‘productive of his environment’, or simply the choices he made along the way. Maybe it’s a bit of all those things.
I am certain of one thing. Stevie faced life head on and accepted the challenge to see how far he could push his personal boundaries. He did not seem to fear failure and was not overly concerned by other’s acceptance. As many would agree, there was something very authentic about him. It is for these reasons, not winning championships, video parts, Red Bull, fame, fortune, social media likes, etc., that I believe Stevie will live on as an icon.
Miss and mourn him now. But also be inspired by his choice to live life to the fullest... and not just safely exist.
Words by Todd Schumlick
To describe Steve up in one paragraph or with one photo is near impossible, but it makes me think about a time back in 2012, I think when Stevie came down for a Pro GRT race in Port Angeles, Washington. He had won the race and gave his big massive check to two young kids and their family. They seemed pretty new to the sport and the light was shining in their eyes. I imagine that check is hanging up on the wall in one of the kids' bedrooms and inspiring them to follow their dreams the same way Steve made his a reality. After digging up that photo this week, it really spoke to me how much of a heart that Stevie had for everybody around him; even if he barely knew you.
Words by Paris Gore
|Behind the curly moustache and dark eyes was an exceptional character who not only trusted, but proved how dedication and belief in yourself come together to make everything possible. We'll never know exactly the amazing ways Stevie was to continue shaping the mountain bike world or the lives of the people close to him, but his confidence, honesty and love for life will continue to inspire us all.- Nathan Hughes|
I was lucky enough to work with Stevie over the last decade and we became pretty tight over time. I remember when I first signed him to TLD; he was a young, brash teenager full of piss and vinegar. He already had the speed and attitude to win races and I thought 'when this kid grows up and keeps his bike in a straight line down the hill he could be dangerous'. I moved to Fox clothing and was lucky to have him sign there where I watched him continue his path to greatness; growing up, changing the way he trained and focusing on his racing. This would bring him World Cup wins and an overall Championship at the highest level. He became one of the best mountain bikers on the planet. It was awesome to see the support from his mom and Gabe from the start to help him succeed and grow into such a great person. He inspired a generation of Canadian downhill kids along with countless other kids around the world to chase their dreams and believe in themselves. From this, his legacy will live on forever. One of the things I will miss the most is him coming down for Supercross and eating all of the oranges off the tree in our back yard. Good times. That gap tooth, up to no good grin. See you on the other side.
Words by Mike Redding
|I've known Stevie for over decade and have always connected with his down to earth yet truly perseverant personality. It's been inspiring watching him grow from grom to world's best - just a small town island boy that made his dreams come true through sheer determination, hard work and passion (with the help of his equally as driven and passionate Mum). He really is our Canadian mountain bike hero.- Katrina Strand|
When it doesn’t hurt it is because I don’t believe it, and when the shockwaves hit it can be consuming. It’s a cycle that is still fresh and will decrease only with time. I’m not going to feel better about the passing of Stevie, I will hold onto what he gave me and learn to honour all that he left me.
I had a dream that one day the two of us would win the same World Cup. It’s something I’ve never told anyone, but I used to fantasize about winning a downhill and sharing the victory with Steve. I suppose I was embarrassed about sharing the thoughts because I wasn’t confident that I would ever be able to do that. It’s strange the things that we regret when opportunities are taken, but I wish I had told him.
We speak of the fragility of life when it’s been extinguished early and while that’s true, let us not treat ourselves with fragility. Stevie taught us to be rugged. He would always be strong, say something probably kind of crass and hold on. It’s hard to elucidate what it is about someone that we will miss; it’s a mix of physical qualities and emotional impressions. The list is long but Steve I will miss your penetrating stare that I had to learn to return. I will miss being called ‘Mir-Kitty’ and ‘over eating’ each meal. Track walks with you gave me confidence and you made me feel okay about my crooked gap teeth. (In France they’re called ‘Good-Time’ teeth!)
I ride for me, but I’ve found a new motivation in myself that Steve has and will continue to keep alive. I think if I had told Stevie about my dream of winning a world cup with him, he would have believed it was possible. Thank you Stevie for once again giving me confidence.
Words by Miranda Miller
Stevie Smith was unquestionably talented on a bike, but with that gap-toothed shit-eating grin it was obvious that he had a nice balance of fun and precision to his personality. He worked hard, crashed a ton, and eventually found a groove that only years of mistakes could allow. As he started honing in his life skills, his race results flourished as well. That race run at Mont-Sainte-Anne world champs where he finished 2nd mesmerized me. I could tell that he let go of any care about weather, or adversity, and made the belief real about becoming a champion. He worked harder, dug deeper, until he was able to pull off a fairy book season. He won the World Cup in St. Anne, and unleashed the "chainsaw massacre" streak in 2013. Norway World Cup finals is a time and place synonymous with Stevie in my mind. I am proud of him for the fact that he never had excuses, found some discipline, and genuinely loved riding bikes enough to endure all the pain he had to go through with injuries. He simplified things in a way that made them believable, then would add a crass statement or something with a chuckle that was so classic. I knew whatever he told me was possible, or he would crash trying. Going fast and taking chances was the way he lived, so to become World Cup Champion in an unorthodox way, was a testament to his will for it. As a fan and friend, there was nothing better than seeing the green light at the end of his run. It always felt like he was on 'our' team, us vs them, Stevie our North American warrior. He was way more than just a fast rider or good dude, and everybody knows it. His presence will be deeply missed.
Words by Jill Kintner
I sit here today as a friend, a teammate and an avid fan who is truly lost for words. We only met each other on May 3rd, 2012 while we filmed the first of what would be a trio of videos for Devinci. After the first day we met I knew we would end up being great buddies and I wasn't mistaken... for a change. The videos showcased your humour and incredible talent on a bike. Meanwhile, I just tried to keep up. Since that day we shared so many epic times, whether it was camping with your buddies or filming in a torrential downpour while hungover. There was never a shortage of laughs or stories to be shared.
On September 22, 2013, in just 3:23.95, you changed the face of Canadian cycling forever. You truly became the people's champ, a moment that will forever be engraved in the history of biking. The genuine stoke on your face spoke more than a thousand words. You had worked hard your entire life for that moment and luckily the entire world of cycling and beyond got to share it with you.
You were a warrior for the last three seasons battling injuries, flat tires, and some genuinely bad luck. However, nothing could ever hold you down, you kept your head up and relentlessly fought harder to come back faster than ever before. You showed me and the world around you that fighting for what you love is all that matters. In 26 years you had done more than most people could dream of doing in a lifetime. I only wish we were lucky enough to see what you truly would be capable of.
You were taken from us far too soon and there is nothing we can do that to change it. You weren't just another kid from Nanaimo B.C., you were the 'Canadian Chainsaw Massacre'. You inspired an entire generation of cycling who will never forget you or what you did for our sport. Thanks for everything buddy, we'll see you on the other side.
Words by Ian Morrison
|I remember Steve Peat taking on the nickname 'cappuccino steve' for his love of cappucinos , while Stevie commented one time that he just liked 'shit drip coffee' thus affectionately being referred to as 'shit drip steve' from there on out.- Jill Kintner|
When I first learned that we had lost Stevie I was in disbelief, and I still have a hard time accepting the reality. He's left us far too early but we can all be grateful for how impressive and inspirational his life was that he lived, and that we have so many great memories to keep his legend alive forever. I was fortunate enough to share a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil while we filmed his segment in the hottest and most humid conditions we'd faced. It was so hot, even in the shade, that we were all soaked in sweat as if we'd been in a rain shower. Stevie didn't back down even in the harshest heat we faced, and he never denied another take to get the best shots possible, all with a smile on his face and good laugh at how insane the conditions were. No one else could have excelled like he did and we knew it. He even no foot canned a step down! And the best part about him killing it on a freeride film trip was that he went on to win the World Cup overall later that year!! Stevie was a true Canadian achiever who lived life to its fullest. A true legend for all of us to look up to! Thank you Stevie for all the amazing moments, laughs, and good times yelling at the computer screen cheering you on to victory!
Words by Kyle Norbraten
It is difficult to try and pay tribute to Stevie in only a few words. If you look at the outpouring of amazing experiences that the mountain bike community is sharing you realize we’ll need to write a book or volumes to try and capture what it meant to be Stevie Smith and his effect on so many of us. There are two stories that stick out to me. One about Steve the athlete and the other about Steve the human.
In the winter of 2014 Steve, the defending World Cup Champion, was crazy fit and fully ready to repeat. We found ourselves together at Skyline Bike Park in Queenstown, NZ for a product launch. Stevie, Mike Levy and I were doing some laps together, and on our first lap Stevie tells us, 'There’s a double at the bottom that Bernard Kerr says isn’t do-able. That just makes me want to do it.' On the way down we stop to look at this tiny table top, then a huge gap to a nothing roller that was supposed to be the landing. I subtlety tried to talk him out of it because I didn’t think the risk of injury was worth it. As we talked about it on the lift ride up, he said, 'I have to do it. I can’t go to a World Cup and be scared to do something. I’m going to do it.' He didn’t say 'try', he said 'do'. The next lap we came down to the same section and he told Levy and I to go stand and watch. We stood on the side of the trail with our phones out and watched him do what Kerr said wasn’t possible. Unfortunately, when we got back to the lift he told us he had put his foot into the ground on the landing. He had just broken his ankle and sidelined his title defense. The focus and determination to not only sharpen his body physically but also find ways to push and improve himself mentally was something I had never seen in my 20 years of working with World Cup racers. That was a testament to Stevie the athlete, Stevie the human was another special thing.
Stevie’s humility for one of the world’s fastest riders was second to none. Following wrapping up his win at Leogang in 2013, which clinched his World Cup title, he was visibly struggling with how to react. A few of us were standing with him outside the bar where the finals party was in full swing. He was reluctant to go into the bar. You could see he was uncomfortable with dealing with all the attention at the same time trying to wrap his head around what he had just accomplished. Gabe Fox and I were desperately trying to push him to understand that his win put him on the list of greatest downhillers. He just downplayed the achievement. To be honest, at that time, in that moment, his amazing humility was both frustrating and beautiful. His modesty, humility, humor, competitiveness, commitment, talent, generosity and smile will all be dearly missed.
Words by Jeremiah Boobar
Ah man, my fondest memories have to be the second time I visited the island with Steve, Nick Beer and Loose Dog after Whistler in 2013. Steve had just cleaned up at Crankworx and on the Monday morning headed back to his place, truck fully loaded with four dudes, about eight bikes, and kit bags. Anyway, we made it to the ferry port, just.
Once back to Nanaimo, we continued celebrating with the King of Crankworks for a good couple of days, hitting up all of Steve's local watering holes and generally just having our minds blown by what an amazing life he lived on the island. Where me and Loose Dog come from there are a lot of rules and all the land is spoken for, so going to somewhere like that with so much unspoilt countryside and wild men, it just seemed like a paradise and there's no doubt that Stevie made the most of it.
You know he loved to BBQ and I'll never forget the rowdy on his deck one night where the cock-sauce was spilt on a friend so the spiller copped a good right hook and a brawl followed. Stevie just watched laughing whilst his two mates were knockin' each other about and I remember thinking, 'holy shit is no one gonna stop them?' But sure enough, two minutes later they were laughing and hugging it out! Brilliant!
Always so welcoming and hospitable whenever I went to his place as well. Wild as they come but also a true gent.
Words by Josh Bryceland
Steve was great for jamming his days filled with activities. One day a few years ago we planned to go for a road ride. It was a really nice day and once I got to his house he proceeded to tell me it would be fun to ride to the bottom of Mt Benson (a popular mountain to hike in Nanaimo) in our road gear (lycra head to toe) then swap our riding shoes for running shoes and hike to the top of the mountain, back down then ride home. I think the hiking trail had a bit more traffic that we had planned. We looked like absolute goofs in our lycra and got lots of funny looks by everyone we went by. We just smiled and waved and carried on. I think we brought one granola bar each. Typical gravity riders not bringing enough food.
Every time I drove to Prevost to ride DH with Steve we were like kids on Christmas Eve, knowing how much fun we were going to have that day. There is a section of highway that goes from 100km to 60km and I think that Steve was a bit to excited on our way there. We got pulled over and the officer decided that he was going to impound the vehicle. Most people would have decided that their day was over and would find a way home but not Steve. He called his buddy and got him to drive his truck out so we could still go riding.
Words by Remi Gauvin
Stevie was one of the few guys at the top of the sport who really had time for everyone, I knew him for a fair few years now from the World Cup scene and I am glad to have met him.
He has left us with only good memories, although he was a deadly serious racer and athlete he had a heart of gold and made time for everyone, whether it be another interview or helping out a kid that's just getting into riding. I can’t remember Stevie without a smile or a good word to say, he just had such a positive effect on so many people, we can all learn from the way he lived and treated people.
Stevie, you were one of the few, that in NZ we would call a 'GC'. I’m going to miss you mate and I hope you are up there ripping trails with McGazza.
Words by Wyn Masters
Steve Smith, where do I start. I think my first memory of Steve was when I was watching the World Champs in Fort William in 2007, he was on a Cove Shocker, bright yellow or orange, I don't remember, little did I know I was going to be gracing the WC podium with him over the next few years. In 2011 Steve and I were battling for 4th overall going into the last race in Val Di Sole. Steve crashed in practice and handed 4th to me! Cheers Steve. No one can say that Steve didn't live his life to the fullest, hucking off big shit on his bike was his forte. And another thing I remember is riding A-Line with him, that guy had some unreal lines down there! My last memory of Steve is sitting in the 'troopy' waiting to go up to practice in Cairns when there was a huge course hold. Josh Bryceland, Brook Macdonald, Mark Wallace, Steve, and I - we all just sat the chatting shit for 2 hours, just 5 lads, talking about everything and anything. That's my last memory of Steve and it will stay with me for the rest of my life!
RIP STEVE SMITH!
Words by Danny Hart
When we were shooting Unreal with Stevie one of the best aspects of that shoot was that we were camping for 10 days in the middle of nowhere with no access to cell service or internet. That gave us a lot of time to chill in camp and just hang out. We’re all so busy all the time so to have the chance to just be in the moment with good friends is rare.
There is a huge hole left in the bike world with Stevie’s passing. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what that is but I think it simply comes down to the fact that he’ll be gone. We’ll miss cheering for him at every race. He became friends with so many throughout the sport, I think as a whole we’ve lost a great friend. In terms of his mentorship and being an ambassador for the sport that will live on and grow stronger in his absence.
Stevie had an awesomely blunt positivity about him. He always spoke his mind and usually would be trying to find a way to make a joke out of anything. When I think back now about all the time I’ve spent with him all I can see is him laughing and whatever dumb joke was going on at the moment. Always laughing and smiling is the way I’ll remember Stevie.
Words by Darcy Wittenburg
I have had the pleasure of working with Stevie over the last 7 years in my role as the physiotherapist with Cycling Canada and most recently as the therapist with the Devinci family. Steve was fierce and amped not only when it came to riding and racing, but with his rehab as well. He would take treatment suggestions and techniques to a new level! He constantly challenged me, asking intelligent questions, bantering over research and pushing the envelope to ensure he got better faster. In the time we worked together, he made me a better physio, taught me to never settle or be complacent, and re-sparked my passion for working in sport, and I am forever thankful for this (I was going to tell him this at Fort William - I guess it will have to wait). Also, when I think back to all my years in mountain biking, Steve has been responsible for countless moments that have made me insanely proud to be Canadian! I can only hope that he somehow knows how much of an affect he has had on so many people! Ride in Paradise Steve!
Words by Tara Lazarski
I knew the first time that I met Stevie I was going to get along with him very well and I also felt like we had so much in common! I was lucky enough to be on a team with him from 2010 to 2011, from there we became close friends. Stevie was a man that I looked up to and watched transform into a champion. He was an all-round loved guy.
I have so many good memories - a lot of them we were drunk and I haven't been able to remember, but one I will never forget was after a night in Maribor in 2010. The next morning Luke and Stevie had gone out for a walk and I stayed home. When they came back Luke said to me, 'Bro you wouldn't believe what happened, Stevie shat himself!' He had farted with no undies on and it ran all down his leg. The way Luke described it in full detail was so good, I will never forget all the funny memories we have had together!
I think the best memory I’ll never forget is when Stevie got his first podium in Val Di Sole and gave me his TLD jersey, I pulled it out the other day and remembered it so vividly. I’ll be getting that shirt framed and hung up on my wall so I can look back and cherish the good times we have had together. We were all so proud of Stevie that day and from there on the podiums started coming. To watch him get his first podium, to multiple World Cup wins and to a World Cup overall was an honour to watch. I always had a smile on my face watching him dominate. The truly humbled man is going to be missed by all. Rest in peace Stevie, I’m going to miss that infectious smile - until we meet again bro.
Words by Brook Macdonald
I met Stevie for the first time in 2006 during a Canada Cup race in Bromont. He was just this funny kid who was hanging with the more seasoned pro riders, cracking jokes and pranking everyone the way most 16 year old kids do. I didn't even catch his name until the event was over and I realized that 16 year old funny kid had just smoked the pro field and won his first Canadian National race. Needless to sat the party that ensued was one for the record books, and there are still some legendary stories that a few of use reminisce about now and again. So I guess you could say Stevie left a lasting impression from day one.
I got to travel with him a few times over the next few years while I was still actively racing, and as his results improved and the attention and sponsor dollars increased, nothing changed with Stevie. He remained the same funny kid that I had met in Bromont, still grounded, but also fiercely determined.
I've been privileged to experience in person his first world cup win in Norway in 2012, his overall world cup series victory in Leogang in 2013, the struggles with injury over two seasons that looked like they might end such a promising career, and his rise once again to the top this past April in Lourdes, France. Through the up and downs, he was always genuine, always humble, and always there for his friends and fans. There was no ego, no attitude, no bravado. You can even see it in his interviews that he was just a normal person like you and me who absolutely loved riding his bike, and wanted to be the best in the world at it.
One of my favorite things about this sport is that at the highest level the athletes are still so accessible. You do not have that in other forms of elite competition, and even in road cycling you would have to go through an agent or a publicist to gain access to the best of the best. But in MTB, those walls are not there and the riders, if willing, can really put themselves out there for the fans to get to know. Stevie seemed to embrace this and I think that is why his death has touched so many people around the world. Not just the people close you him who knew him inside and out, but everyone who has come in contact with downhill racing. They all know Stevie's story. We all lived it right alongside him no matter where we were from, and we could relate to him. I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say we did not just lose one of the greatest riders of a generation, but we lost a true champion, a great person, and most of all a friend #longlivechainsaw.
Words by Dave Trumpore
The past week has been tough for all of us. We lost a great person who still had so much life ahead of him. But Steve accomplished a lot in those 26 years. I think it would be fair to say that Steve enjoyed every day. That in itself describes him so well. It has also been incredible to read all of the stories about Steve that people from all over the world have been sharing. They are all a true reflection of what he was like. The comments can be sad to read but at the same time, it’s awesome to see how many people have been influenced by Steve.
I would like to share something that happened while riding downhill on Prevost just before we left for the first World Cup in France. The conditions were good which makes for fast trails. Steve, Darren Berrecloth and I had done 3 runs and just before starting our 4th, Steve said 'why do I only have one knee pad on right now?!' We looked over at Steve standing there in his shorts with just one knee pad on. We all had a good laugh. Before heading down the trail, Steve decided he should ride cautiously down to the bottom. That cautiousness lasted for 20 seconds and then it was back to normal, full speed, pushing the pace.
It is inspiring to me how much he loved riding. His ability and stubbornness to not let anything slow him down was amazing. When he first started riding again after his ankle injuries he was going just as fast as he used to go... making more mistakes but going fast. Steve could be sore or sick it just didn’t matter what the problem was he wouldn’t let it hold him back. He pushed the limits of himself and everyone around him. It is just the way it was, always, no matter what.
In the 6 years we knew each other he taught me so much about racing and everyday life. Steve always made sure to point out that it should always be enjoyable. I feel very fortunate to have spent so much time with Steve. He was an amazing bike rider and a great friend.
Words by Mark Wallace
I don't have one particular memory about Stevie, but I have plenty of little ones. Every time I had to share something about him - it was intense. Racing; on the hot seat waiting for riders to come, he was so into it. Partying; he was so funny at night and having good times, no matter if it was wise or not to be drunk one week before another world cup. The latest I have is going up to the start of the finals in Cairns in the 4x4 with Stevie and Bernard Kerr. We were all relaxed and Stevie was just stoked about the feeling he had before the start. And we just talked about anything, girls and other stuff.
Stevie was a mate. I haven't been as close with him as many other riders, but close enough to be devastated by his too early passing. Stevie was amazing, in everything he did. I have only good memories of him. I'll miss him and I have many regrets about not taking the time to get to know him more.
Words by Loic Bruni
|I paint flowers so they will not die.- Frida Kahlo|
Thank you to the contributing photographers who have worked so hard to immortalize our hero:Paris Gore
A trust been set up to continue Stevie's Legacy, if you would like to contribute, you can do so here: Stevie Smith Legacy Fund