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Nelson Vails

Full name: Nelson Beasley Vails
Nickname(s): The Cheetah
Gender: Male
Height: 5-8.5 (175 cm)
Weight: 174 lbs (79 kg)
Born: October 13, 1960 in New York, New York, United States
Country: USA United States
Sport: Cycling

Medals: 1 Silver (1 Total)

Biography

Nelson Vails learned his bicycle skills as a bike messenger on the streets of New York. He eventually became a top track sprinter, winning the gold medal in sprint at the 1983 Pan American Games. Vails won national titles in sprint in 1984 and tandem sprint in 1984-86. He was a tandem sprint silver medalist at the 1985 World Championships. In the 1980s and 1990s Vails competed professionally in Europe in 6-day races and in Japan in keirin. In 1986 a movie starring Kevin Bacon, “Quicksilver,” was made about New York City bicycle messengers, ostensibly inspired by Vails’ story. Vails was the first African-American to win an Olympic cycling medal. In 2009 he was inducted into the US Bicycle Hall of Fame.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1984 Summer 23 Los Angeles Cycling Men's Sprint United States USA 2 Silver

Men's Sprint

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank RW T
1984 Summer 23 Los Angeles Cycling United States Final Round Match 1/2 2 0
1984 Summer 23 Los Angeles Cycling United States Semi-Finals Heat Two 1 QU 2
1984 Summer 23 Los Angeles Cycling United States Quarter-Finals Heat Three 1 QU 2
1984 Summer 23 Los Angeles Cycling United States Eighth-Finals Heat Six 1 QU 11.05
1984 Summer 23 Los Angeles Cycling United States Round Two Heat Eight 1 QU 10.80
1984 Summer 23 Los Angeles Cycling United States Round One Heat Eight 1 QU 11.07
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