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Russ Okawa

Filed under Hall Of Fame on April 23, 2012 | Comment(s)

Russ was originally introduced to BMX when he was hired as the manager of Canoga Schwinn bike shop. He formed the first Factory Schwinn team and as Team Manager, he picked up future National BMX Hall of Famers Kevin Jackson and Eric Rupe. With camera in hand, he was also a contributing photographer for Bicycle Motocross News, BMX ACTION and BMX Plus! magazines in their early days. He crossed over to Mongoose/BMX Products in 1980, under the title of Advertising and Promotions manager helping form the unstoppable Mongoose team; starring No.1 NBL Pro Eric Rupe. Russ put together freestyle team/promotions and mountain bike team/promotions for Mongoose throughout the 80`s and played a key part in the mountain bike success of John Tomac. In 1989, Okawa left Mongoose to work for Sachs/Sedis, in charge of Sales/Marketing which later led to a job with KMC chains. In 1997, Russ teamed back up with his old friend from Mongoose, Skip Hess Jr., who was president at Giant Bicycles. At Giant, he worked alongside BMX Hall of Famers Dave Clinton, Perry Kramer and Travis Chipres - and was influential in Giant Bicycles` rise to becoming the leading brand of bikes in the world. The sport of BMX lost one of its greats when Russ passed away in January 2011.

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