Yes, it’s been a month since the Summer X Games, but I was trying to figure out how to make my “awards” for the best moments of the X Games more unique to the nerdy nature of this blog and more comprehensive. I came up with a new name too!
Before I start handing out eXponential Awards, I’d like to congratulate X Games photographer Olivia Bush for her post, “Practice Makes Awesome“, being Freshly Pressed a couple weeks ago. There are some sweet shots of various events so definitely check out her blog.
Now let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at my favorites of Summer X 17.
Best Female Athlete – Maria Forsberg (Moto-X)
The female endurocross racers had to ride the same course as the men, and the course didn’t care about your gender or riding background. Everybody was taking spills. Nevertheless, Maria held the lead for a good portion of the final.
Best Male Athlete – Daniel Dhers (BMX)
Opting out of a run when all the riders were giving it their all was a ballsy move. We were sure that was going to hurt Daniel, but because he was well-rested, he was able to ride consistently and take the gold back. Who needs a fourth run when you’ve got three excellent ones?
Newcomer to Watch – Enduro-X
“But Jen, that’s not an athlete or even a new sport.” That’s what you’re thinking, right? However, during both the men’s and women’s finals, I was wondering where this event has been in the history of X Games. It’s physically demanding, unpredictable, chaotic, and really fun to watch—perfect for the X Games.
Most Dramatic Finals – Skateboard Vert
To see Shaun White and Pierre-Luc Gagnon battle it out for gold was incredible, yet I never got the feeling that this was an epic showdown. They just looked like they were trying to outskate themselves, and that’s what made it exciting. Also, I believe Shaun got the only standing ovation of the night.
Best Trick – Jackson Strong’s Front Flip (Moto-X)
It seemed like only yesterday, the double back flip was unattainable. You’re fighting so many forces when you’re flipping your bike forward. When Jackson landed the front flip, it was pretty much a battle for silver from then on.
Picture Perfect Moment – Jamie Bestwick in BMX Vert
Photo by Olivia Bush, from X Games facebook page
The contrast of the photo makes Jamie practically glow. The shot is so focused on the rider and his bike that it’s almost as if Jamie is riding on his own.
Best Moment Outside of Competition – Mitchie Brusco’s 900 (Skateboard Big Air)
After all these years, the 900 is still the Holy Grail of skateboarding, and this kid, who wasn’t even alive during the first X Games, pulls one in competition. Regardless of how he did in the finals, Mitchie became an overnight sensation and the future of skateboarding.
Most Educational Moment – Sport Science presentation on Skateboard Big Air
Big Air consists of a lot of bailed attempts and falls, which can make people impatient. However, when you know exactly how difficult it is to stay on your board (or bike) and how much it hurts to fall, you gain a lot more respect for all the athletes. Also, this was a good review of high school physics.
Greatest Comeback – Travis Pastrana (Moto-X/Rally)
Instead of handing out an award for crashing hard (which I’m sure the athletes aren’t proud of), I decided to give one out for the ability to bounce back. Technically Travis couldn’t get back on his feet after his bad crash in Moto-X Best Trick, but he deserves props for being dedicated enough to go out and race rallycross with multiple broken bones (and almost medaling).
Most Inspirational – Team Pastrana (Rally)
I know I already gave Travis an award, but his team deserves as much recognition for toiling overnight to install hand controls in his car, which he then learned in the course of a day. Hard work, determination, and a little bit of insanity is a winning combo. Even if they didn’t medal, Team Pastrana probably got the most coverage ever.
Lifetime Achievement Award – Jamie Bestwick (BMX)
Since I got into extreme sports, I’ve been following Jamie’s career. He started to make a name for himself after the ’99 Gravity Games, and I remember the announcers talking about how he left everything behind in England to train for BMX. For the next 10 years, he became one of the dominant vert riders, only missing the top of the podium 2 of the years. Although this year’s comp wasn’t a cakewalk, he took gold again and became one of the few athletes to five-peat. At 40 years old, he still shows no sign of slowing down.