A multiple South African and All African BMX champion, Sifiso Nhlapo is one of South Africa's best medal hopes at the 2012 London Olympics. Born in Soweto, 'Skizo' started riding a BMX at the age of 13 and made the semifinals at his first global event just two years later, when he competed in the Junior World Championships in Sao Paolo, Brazil. In 2005 he was the Junior Cruiser World Champion.
In 2008 he came third at the World Championships, giving him confidence ahead of the Beijing Games, where BMX events were held in the Olympics for the first time. Nhlapo won his heat and finished second in his semifinal, but crashed out of the final and failed to finish.
In 2009 he set a record when he won six straight races in Europe, but his career appeared to be over when he crashed during training in Norway. Nhlapo fractured two vertebrae and was knocked out, and did not remember anything between the accident and surgery the following day. Nevertheless he started training again in January the following year, and returned to competition in time to finish second in the World Championships in Pietermaritzburg.
He suffered another setback when he had to have reconstructive surgery to his anterior cruciate ligament in early 2011, but he is back in action and was crowned SA BMX champion at April's National Championships. Because South Africa does not have an Olympic-spec BMX supercross track on which Nhlapo can hone his skills, he does most of his training abroad.