It's incredibly difficult for anyone to qualify for a national event like the X-Games. It's even tougher to do so while battling an everpresent health condition like Type 1 diabetes.
Now imagine trying to do that while still working your way through high school and college. Incredibly, that's precisely what Nicole Madsen, a freshman at Taft College and recent graduate of Taft (Calif.) Union High, has achieved, with her debut at the X Games set to come in a matter of weeks.
As reported by Bakersfield ABC affiliate KERO, 19-year-old Nicole Madsen will debut in endurocross at the 2012 X Games, some three years after the teen turned professional in the sport while still an underclassman at Taft Union High. The youngster was first signed to a professional deal when the Warhawkmx team signed her to compete on the team's roster for the final two races of the 2009 LucasOil season while still a 16-year-old.
By that point, Madsen had already won World Off Road Championship Series Woman "B" and Woman "A" titles.
Throughout it all, Madsen overcome struggles with Type 1 diabetes that require her to wear an insulin pump during each race. At any stage, a major accident that damaged her in the area of her pump could have put her future in the sport in jeopardy and kept her from the pinnacle of women's motocross: The X-Games.
As of July 1, that won't be the case, with Madsen's initial race at the 2012 X-Games in L.A. televised on ESPN on July 1.
"For women that is as high as you can go that's the big time," Madsen told KERO.
"The money is not there. We are just there for the love of the sport. We are definitely not there for the money. … I am ecstatic. I am beside myself. I can't even describe how excited and happy I am."
Clearly, Madsen deserves to be that excited. The odds are that the entire Bakersfield community is just as excited for her and all she's accomplished already, too.