Nelson Beasley Vails (born October 13, 1960 in Harlem New York) is a retired road and track cyclist from the United States, a professional rider from 1988 to 1995. He represented the USA at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he won the silver medal in the 1000m Match Sprint, behind countryman Mark Gorski.
• 2009 Inductee to the US Bicycle Hall of Fame
• 1984 Olympics: Track – Sprint Silver, 1984
• First African-American to win an Olympic Cycling Medal
• 1985 World Championships: Tandem Sprint, Silver
• 1984, 1985, 1986 National Tandem Sprint Champion
• 1984 National Sprint Champion
• 1983 Pan American Games: Gold Medal
• 1980s and 1990s competed professionally in the 6-Day circuits in Europe and the Japanese Keirin events.
• Media Cycling commentator involved in cycling commentator for major TV networks and cycling safety programs.
• Starred with Kevin Bacon in the Columbia Pictures release of “Quicksilver”, a movie about the tough world of bicycle messengers in New York City.
Wow! I remember Nelson from the 70s when he raced at the LV velodrome. He was a beast!!
So I know him from frequenting the Wednesday Pendleton ride and had heard he was a big name in cycling but never got around to “googling” him. Good to finally know of his accomplishments and contributions to cycling, specifically American cycling.
By the way, you’re at B+L now? How is/was Bike Religion?
I need Nelson’s email – met him at inter bike 2013 and discussed a project but his site is down.