Sam Willougby became the first rider to win back-to-back Junior World Titles (2008 and 2009) and he has taken this blistering form into the senior ranks. He was ranked the World's Best BMX rider at the end of 2010, as well as receiving the accolade of Australia's Elite Male BMX Cyclist of the Year. His soaring 2011 results helped pull Australia to the highest ranked BMX nation.
Willoughby made his biggest international breakthrough in 2012 when he won his first senior BMX World Title three months out from the London Games. Full of confidence, Willoughby made his Olympic debut in London where he would again tackle the world’s best.
He finished sixth in the seeding run before making it through his quarter-final as the third ranked rider. He came into his own in the semi-finals winning the opening two races before backing off in the final race to finish third and qualify as the top rider from his heat into the final.
In the one race final Willoughby was second to the first corner as defending Olympic Champion Maris Strombergs grabbed the holeshot. Willoughby stalked the Latvian through the rest of the race but could not pass the Beijing gold medallist, leaving him with the silver medal at his first Olympic Games.