../people/Thomas Joseph Lavin

Sources: Ride BMX US, BMX Plus!, Transworld BMX, Ride BMX UK october 1998, www.foxracing.com, www.ridebmx.com, ignition.tv, thecomeupbmx.net, ...
If you want to add any info, please contact buissonrouge@23mag.com.
1976 Birthdate: december 7, 1976.
Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
early years TJ, www.foxracing.com: I was two years old when I got my first bike and it was a Kawasaki. They had bikes back then.

Schwinn press release, december 2005: Growing up in Las Vegas, TJ was drawn to BMX racing as a young child, and showed potential as a top contender almost immediately. He soon discovered dirt jumping and before long found almost unparalleled success, having been crowned the "King of Dirt" in 1995.
1995 TJ Lavin a été révélé au grand public lors du King Of Dirt du Grand National ABA en 1995. Il était alors sponsorisé par Herda's Hot Shot et grâce à son style avait réussi à battre les ténors de l'époque tels Butler ou Miron. S&M prend TJ sous son aile le temps de quelques contests.

Colombus Christmas classic 1995. T.J. Lavin won first place and took home $300 dollars.
T.J. Lavin, Ride BMX UK october 1998: I'd got picked up by S&M for winning the ABA King of Dirt a month before. I guess I was flavour of the month you know. Nobody knew who I was yet and I was winning all the big contests. There was a lot of pressure and everybody was starting to talk shit. Some people didn't like me because they didn't know who I was and I was beating them. It was pretty rough.
tj lavin flip 1995
TJ switched from S&M to Specialized.
Specialized engage le kid de Las Vegas à coup de dollards pour représenter la marque et lui apporter la crédibilité et la notoriété tant désirées.
T.J. Lavin, Ride BMX UK october 1998: Two months after the Colombus Christmas classic, Specialized came in and made me an offer. I didn't take it straight away, I took like a month to decide if I was gonna go with them or not. I sent the contract to Chris Moeller and he said I'd be stupid not to take it. I went with it but nobody knew what had gone on. They just knew I'd left S&M and gone to Specialized so all of a sudden I was a sell-out' and a 'dick' you know. It sucked but those same guys that were calling me an asshole for leaving are now riding for mountainbike companies, so I look back and laugh. I'm like "You could have done this two years ago." It's pretty cool. Everyone's better now I've been riding for Specialized for a while and everything's mellowed out.
T.J. Lavin, Ride BMX US december 1996: At first it was kind of shady because they were just starting out (in BMX) and I wasn't too sure if it was a good move from S&M, but now that everything's rolling, it's really good. I haven't raced in a while because every race I go to there's a dirt jumping contest, and Travis Chipres, Specialized team manager, talks me out of racing because he wants me to do really well in jumping. That's what he wants me to concentrate on. That's the reason I got on Specialized.

2nd place pro dirt @ 1996 X-Games.
Pari réussi pour Specialized puisque TJ s'illustre alors lors des X-Games 96 (sur un S&M Holmes malgré tout) en manquant de justesse le titre au bénéfice de Joey Garcia.
Specialized's TJ Lavin qualified first by pulling a perfect backflip over the trick set. The crowd loved it, ESPN loved it, and the judges gave it their highest score in qualifying. Flips remainded the crowd favourite in the finals and so did Lavin.
T.J. Lavin, Ride BMX UK october 1998: I was real new. Fresh blood, I didn't know what to do on TV. You don't realise you gonna have to watch that shit later. You do a lot of crazy stuff, act real stupid but it was a really good time. I was 19 and in the running for the win. (...) That last flip in the contest was gonna be a no-handed flip, I'd learnt it that week. As soon as I went into the air I knew I'd blown it. I thought maybe I'd still won.

Interview in Ride BMX US #25 december 1996.
1997 Cover of the august 97 issue of BMX Plus!

1997 X-Games dirt gold medal.
TJ remporte les X-Games devant Brian Foster.
T.J. Lavin, Ride BMX UK october 1998: I'd never landed a perfect tailwhip to pedals in my life. That was the first one I'd pulled and it's mainly because the jump was so big. You had a lot of time and I was just like "F-k it. I'm doing it." I went for the tailwhip because everybody was expecting me to flip. I'm positive I wouldn't have won if I'd done it. I just went balls out and did the tailwhip and it worked out. It was pretty crazy, best feeling in my whole life.
tj lavin bmx plus
1998 5th place pro dirt @ 1998 X-Games.
TJ Lavin qualified in first place but a tailwhip to no footer gone wrong left him in fifth.
T.J. Lavin, Ride BMX UK october 1998: I was the last jumper. All the pressure on me, Brian had just gone and done a big ass 360 transfer to move into first. It was all or nothin'. I had to get like a 92.4. I didn't know that at the time but I knew I had to bust big or it was all over. So I flipped the biggest set they had and tried to tailwhip the last set and crashed. I hadn't crashed for the whole week, I was clean all week long. Double trucks, all kind of tricks and then it all came down to that last tailwhip and I folded. I was laying there, looking at the ground realising that I'd just eaten shit. I was like "Oh well, at least I went down with the ship", that's how it works. I stood up, congratulated Brian of course, but I'll be there next year.


Interviews in Ride BMX US february 1998, BMX Plus! june 1998, BMXup septembre 1998, Ride BMX UK october 1998.
1999 STAMP.
The United States Post Office has a stamp modeled after a photo of T.J. Lavin doing a superman seat-grab.

3rd place pro dirt @ 1999 Gravity Games, Providence, RI, july 15-23, 1999.
Lavin did a giant superman seat grab from the middle of the first set over to the left and then transferred back to the right doing a tire grab to x-up. He also tailwhipped the road gap and barspun into the corner and then crashed his tailwhip 360 at the end...

1999 X-Games dirt gold medal.

MTV Sports and Music Festival 3
Dirt was held in T.J. Lavin's new backyard.

TJ Lavin is working with game-maker THQ on an MTV Sports BMX game that will be out sometime in 2000.
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tj lavin flip xup
MTV Sports and Music Festival 3
2000 Superman seatgrab on the cover of Ride BMX US february march 2000.
Mark Losey, Ride BMX US #100: At the 2000 MTV Sports Festival, I shot with a lot of different films for some different looks. The photos came out pretty cool, but there was one shot of T.J. Lavin that had cover potential-if it had been shot on normal slide film (it was tinted blue since it was shot with tungsten film). We really wanted the photo for the cover, so I called T.J.. and said, "I need to come back out to your house to shoot photos, but I can't tell you what it's for." T.J. understood, and a few days later he had the cover of issue 47.

Interview in Ride BMX US june 2000.

1st place stuntmen dirt @ 2000 CFB round 3, Woodward, PA., july 6-9.

2000 Gravity Games dirt gold medal, july 18-23.
Gravity Games Gold went to TJ Lavin by a pretty big margin. At one point he did a 1 1/2 barspin (mistake?) only to flip them back on the step up and continue. Things just seemed to go his way. Every trick was high, tweaked, and smooth with lots of transferring back and forth and he used the big set every run not to mention the step up. Lavin pulled no foot can cans, a tailwhip, huge lookdowns to x-up, stretched superman seat grabs, a lookdown flip, and the biggest x-up 360. The only glitch was a slight foot drag on a tailwhip 360 that ended his final run..
TJ Lavin, www.foxracing.com, august 2000: I was just coming off of a win at the Woodward contest. I was really stoked about that so I wasn't even going into the Gravity Games with the mindset that I had to win. I just went in there and had fun. The trails were big and fun, and I didn't even do any tricks until practice was almost done. I just flowed around did little turndowns and x-ups. About halfway through practice I decided that I had better start firing up the tricks. Then, I qualified first and I didn't even mean to! I started thinking, man, I might be able to pull this thing off. I didn't really do any super big tricks, I just did some big transfers with some tricks thrown in. I guess the judges liked that I was being creative.

3rd place pro dirt @ 2000 X-Games, San Francisco, California, august 2000.
Third went to T.J. Lavin, who a lot of people thought was going to win. T.J. crashed a lookdown flip on the first set during his first run, but from then on, there was no holding back. His best run was probably when he flip-turndowned the first set, then threw a one-handed barspin over the second, to his signature 360 tailwhip over the last set. At the height he throws these at, it's not a wonder the crowd lost it.

Dog on a bike DIG video.
This video follows TJ Lavin and Fuzzy Hall from their homes to their trails and the contests. Follow TJ to the X-Games as he tries to maintain his title !

Fox Expendable 2: Nothing but BMX video.

Specialized/TJ Lavin pull-out poster in Snap #50 december 2000.
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tj lavin flip turndown
2001 2nd place pro dirt @ 2001 CFB round 1, Jacksonville, Florida, february 2001.
TJ Lavin had to settle for 2nd this time even though he was busting turndown flips, double truckdrivers and 360 tailwhips.

2nd place pro dirt @ 2001 CFB round 2, Perris, California, may 2001.
It's good to see TJ Lavin at a contest. He superman seatgrabbed, double trucked, tailwhipped and 360 tailwhipped the first set and kept on going. Ryan Nyquist and T.J. Lavin were neck-and-neck going into the finals, with T.J. qualifying first and Ryan qualifying second. After the first two runs of finals were over it looked like nothing was going to change. The contest depended on their last runs. T.J. let loose a 360-whip over the first jump, but had to go for a set-up air on the second. On the third he went for a double barspin and he got a little squirelly, landing with his bars backwards. But, like a true Pro, T.J. managed to hang on for the last jump and spun his bars one-and-a-half times to set up for his landing.

360 tabletop on the cover of Transworld BMX #1 june 2001.

2nd place pro dirt @ 2001 CFB round 3, Woodward, PA, june 28-july 1, 2001.
TJ Lavin is one bad mofo. Good tailwhip transfers and going for 360 tailwhips in the middle of the sets.

3rd place pro dirt @ 2001 X-Games, Philadelphia, PA, august 17-23, 2003.
TJ Lavin was in the mix with some serious backflip turndowns, a 360 Tailwhip that he came up just short on and his brand new trick, the nothing Superman. It was only good enough for bronze though.

TJ Lavin Ultimate BMX video game.

TJ Lavin in his backyard shot by Adam booth on the cover of BMX Plus! september 2001.

Invert on the cover of Ride BMX US november 2001.
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2002 2nd place pro dirt @ 2002 CFB round 1, Merritt Island, march 2002.
TJ Lavin has so much style and skills, doing (Christ) nothings and big variations over every jump, putting him in second. Superman nothings, turndown flips and 360 whips as if he was farting around in his backyard.

TJ Lavin, www.ridebmx.com, june 2003: I broke my wrist in May 2002 and I had to have surgery. Then I came back two weeks before Gravity Games, so I didn’t really have any time to prepare for that. And then two weeks later it was the X Games, so I was just rushing to learn my stuff again. Then I got knocked out at the X Games pretty bad—I think everyone has seen that. I went into a coma there. After I recovered from that and I was just getting back into the swing of things I went to the Vans Triple Crown and got knocked out yet again. That was two knockouts in a row, which is pretty bad for your brain—I think I’m a little bit dumber from it. I’m going to play it a lot smarter now because I’m focusing this year. I’m never riding without my helmet again—I learned my lesson.

Superman nothing air on the cover of BMX Plus! june 2002.

Poster and bio in Ride BMX US july 2002.

4th place pro dirt @ 2002 X-Games.
Marty Bernoski, www, expn.com: T.J. Lavin suffered a couple of hard knocks. The first one, and it was a big one, came when Lavin went for what might have been a gold medal-winning trick - the double backflip. Last year's winner, Stephen Murray, rode away a winner after he nailed it. But Lavin appeared to land on his head on the fifth and final jump. He remained on the ground for several minutes before getting up to a thunderous ovation at the First Union Center. Lavin then walked off the arena floor, just out of sight from the fans, and could be heard yelling, 'I'm alright, I'm alright' as he waved his hands over his head. A dazed Lavin insisted on watching the end of the competition but was soon ushered away by a throng of concerned family and friends. He was diagnosed with a concussion and was to be taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
TJ Lavin, Transworld BMX december 2002: Monday: Today is my last day of riding before dirt practice on Wednesday. Stephen Murray came over yesterday, and we fired some doubles into the pit. I'm not too sure if I'll try one this week, but it's definitely on my mind. I crashed two superman-seatgrab 360s today; I hope I can pull one in Philly. Tuesday: I'm on the airplane on my way to Philly, and I can't remember the last time I've been this nervous. I know it's supposed to be just for fun, but it's a contest and I'm signed up for it, so I'm definitely sending myself. Wednesday: Today's practice went great; I felt really good on the section coming back, because it feels nice and big. Nasty talked me into three-whipping the last set, and it was big and fun. Nyquist looks good. Nasty, Murray, and Allan were pretty chill today, but I think things will be different tomorrow. I'm nervous about not making the cut, so tonight it's going to be hard to sleep. Thursday: We had prelims today, and it was crazy. Nasty and Murray didn't make it; I still can't believe that. I didn't see it with the same eyes as the judges, but I guess I shouldn't complain–at least I made it. There was way too much pressure today for me to have fun, because I was stressin' that I might screw up. Now, my nervousness has changed into being scared of what I'm going to try to do in the finals tomorrow. Friday: I'm so sore today. I slammed my brains out on that three-whip in prelims. Thinking about the double-flip or a flip-whip (or maybe both of those!). I could barely even sleep thinking about doubling that last set. Well, I guess we'll just have to see… Saturday: Well, the double didn’t work out as planned, but I'm still happy I tried it. I was going into that last run like, "Here it goes, all or nothing, first or death," and well, I guess I got the sh*t knocked out of me. Spent a while in the hospital; got a CAT scan and had some dyes put in my veins to see if I had any internal bleeding. They had to wake me up every hour that night to make sure I was okay. It was the craziest thing; I totally remember going for the double, but I'm a little shady about the rest of the night. All I know is that I missed backside and took a crank; instead of aborting the mission, I just sent it and lights out! I'm stoked that I didn't back out, so I still won my own little contest with my mind.

November, TJ Lavin is off Specialized and now sports a Schwinn bike.

Fox Expendable 3 video.

Interview in Ride BMX UK #64 december 2002.
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tj lavin 2002 x-games
2002 X-Games.
2003 TJ Lavin, www.ridebmx.com, june 2003: I’m really happy with my progression lately. This year I’ve learned two things out of a list of three or four things that I wanted to learn, which are no-handed backflips and opposite 360s, so I’m really excited that I learned those. Learning opposite 360s just opens a whole new realm because you can learn everything that you can do in a regular 360 opposite—it’s kind of like learning all over again. I feel like I’m 15 learning 360s again, so it’s pretty funny. I might look like a novice doing 360s all over again, but it's cool.

6th place pro dirt @ 2003 X-Games, Los Angeles, California, august 14-18, 2003.
TJ Lavin - Five X Games medals (two of them Gold), and the pressure of never having finished outside the top ten was how TJ went in. His first run scored him an 84.60. His second run he pulled a big turndown flip over the first set and a superman nothing over the last set, for a second round score of 87.00, and after seeing his score, the crowd was definitely not too psyched; they definitely wanted to see it a lot higher. TJ's third run highlights were a decade over the third set and a superman three over the last set for an 85.80 - again, the crowd's not psyched on the scoring. 86.40 overall and TJ was definitely bummed.

T.J. Lavin poster and interview in Ride BMX US september 2003.

T.J. Lavin on the cover of Zwangzig #6 winter 2003 2004.

TJ Lavin with a no-handed backflip in Fuzzy's backyard on the cover of BMX Plus! november 2003. Photo by Adam Booth.
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tj lavin bmx plus! 11 03
2004 TJ Lavin on the cover of BMX Plus! july 2004.

3rd place pro dirt @
2004 X-Games, Los Angeles, California, august 4-8, 2004.
TJ Lavin, who won five medals between 1996 and 2001, delivered a perfect third run that opened with a textbook example of a superman seat grab and finished with a double truckdriver. His precise execution and classic style catapulted him into third place.

3rd place pro dirt @ 2004 Vans Triple Crown round 3, Huntington Beach,CA, september 2004.
TJ Lavin bmx plus! 07 04bmx plus
2005 6th place pro dirt @ 2005 Dew Tour round 2, Denver, july 2005.

9th place pro dirt @ 2005 Dew Tour round 3, Portland, Oregon, august 2005.

5th place pro dirt @ 2005 X-Games, Los Angeles, California, august 4-7, 2005.

December 20, 2005 - TJ Lavin is one talented guy, and Schwinn Bicycles has re-signed him to showcase his talents with the Schwinn brand.
2006 TJ Lavin takes a few minutes from his MTV hosting to get the cover of Ride BMX US june 2006. One-handed no-footed cancan. Photo by Keith Mulligan.

ignition.tv, august 2006: Lauryn Claassen interviews T.J. Lavin. A personal look at one of the most talented riders out there.
tj lavin ride bmx us 06 2006

2008 thecomeupbmx.net, may 2008: TJ Lavin is feeling better after a brutal injury and has decided to switch to Ecko after riding for Fox for 10 years.
2012 thecomeupbmx.net, may 2012: After a year and a half off the bike due to a gnarly crash at the 2010 Vegas Dew Tour, TJ Lavin is back on his bike and clearing his backyard trails.