Nelson Vails Rides Through Tam Valley

Olympic Cycling Legend Nelson Vails is coming to Marin on Saturday, April 12th to host the Bay Area premiere of his documentary, Cheetah, The Nelson Vails Story.

Vail’s interest in cycling grew while growing up in Harlem. He worked full-time as a bike courier as a teenager and earned the nickname “Cheetah” for his quick speed. The U.S. Cycling team invited Vails to train in Colorado and later competed in the 1984 Olympic games in Los Angeles. He won a silver medal in the 1,000-meter match-sprint, becoming the first and only African American cyclist to win an Olympic medal in cycling.

After the Olympics, Vails continued to race in Europe, Japan, and Australia, and won many cycling accolades including the 1984 National Sprint Champion; 1984, 1985, & 1986 National Tandem Sprint Champion; and a Silver Medal in the Tandem Sprint at the 1985 World Championships. He was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in 2009.

The premiere will be held at the Tam Valley Community Center, 203 Marin Drive in Mill Valley. A red carpet event begins at 5pm, followed by a Q & A with Vails.

Tickets can be purchased online at for $25 or at the door for $30. Kids under 16 are free. Seating is limited.

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  1. Henry W. Brown Jr.

    Nelson got me started riding a TRACK!!! bike on the street! I was a African-American roadie in the ATL? Riding a bicycle in Atlanta is hard enough let alone a fixie? And with NO BRAKES!!! MR. Vails is my MAJOR TAYLOR!!! If you DONT know LOOK IT UP!!!

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