Ricky Carmichael, Motorcycles, Class of 2015
They call him "The GOAT." And no, that's not an insult; it's a complimentary acronym for the Greatest Of All Time, an unofficial title bestowed upon motocross racing superstar Ricky Carmichael.
After a stellar amateur motocross career during which he won an astounding 67 championships, stocky, freckle-faced Carmichael stepped up to the professional ranks in 1996 at age 16. It didn't take him long to showcase his enormous talent. He was the American Motorcyclist Association's 125cc Motocross Rookie of the Year in '96 and won that outdoor-racing championship in '97, '98 and '99. He also won every race he entered on his way to the '98 125cc Supercross stadium-racing title.
Carmichael's transition into 250cc Supercross competition was considerably less spectacular. In his first season, 1999, he was fast but erratic aboard that division's bigger, more-powerful motorcycles, never victorious and frequently crashing. Unaccustomed to any outcome besides winning, Carmichael dove headlong into a hardcore training program that ultimately transformed him into one of the sport's most physically fit riders.
His newfound conditioning paid off in spades. After a 2000 "learning" season in which he finished fifth in Supercross points, Carmichael went on a tear, winning the 2001, '02, '03, '05 and '06 Supercross championships; a knee injury kept him from contesting the '04 title.
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