Who is Missy Giove?

This weekend’s World Cup at Windham sees the return of Missy Giove.

Do you know the legendary Missy “the Missile” Giove? Here’s a quick history lesson just in case. Pay attention at the back!

MissyGiove_BartekWolinski (Custom)
Bartek Woliński/Red Bull Content Pool photo

It’s hard to put into a succinct, web-friendly post how big a spot Missy Giove holds in the history books of mountain bike downhill racing. In her time Missy “the Missile” Giove was (and seemingly still is!) an ultra-cool, bad-ass, punk-rock spirit in a World of lycra and taking-it-too-seriously. She was both a rebel and a poster-girl for World Cup downhill.

Missy is a US downhill racer that was on the scene from the early 90’s till her retirement in 2003. She’s currently having a bit of a come back and raced her first DH in 12 years at the ProGRT at Snowshoe in the US this year and will race this weekend’s World Cup at Windham.

A few things set Missy out from the crowd during her time at the top of Downhill. Her racing was – of course – the main one. As dominant as Anne-Caroline Chausson was at the time (and she really was incredible) Missy could give her a run for her money on her day. She consistently scored top results from 1992 to 2003 with wins at Vail, Mont-Saint-Anne, Kaprun and Big Bear World Cups and loads of podiums alongside. Her career saw her raced on two of the biggest teams downhill has ever seen – Volvo Cannondale and Global Racing. In her day she was a genuine super-star of downhill.

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Missy stood out for her unique style and personality. She was openly gay, she was loud, she was opinionated and she was a total contrast to her quiet, professional, low-key competitors. Much like Shaun Palmer she was a breath of fresh air to the stuffiness of cycling. She even wore a dead piranha on a chain round her neck! Some people loved her, some people hated her, some people just didn’t get her – it was great.

Missy’s retirement came after a spot of trouble with the law and she was arrested in 2009 and charged with drugs offences. I don’t want that to be the closing note of this whistle-stop introduction to Missy the Missile though. The thing that’s stuck in my mind is that after over a decade of not racing, after some quite likely tough times and some years away from DH she just turned up and qualified for a World Cup. Her first World Cup and her second race since 2003. That’s incredible! I can’t wait to see how she gets on in her race run. Good luck Missy!

If you want to learn more about Missy I’d recommend you read the brilliant feature on her in Dirt Magzine here.