Hello there, I’m back! My hiatus was unplanned with some unexpected life changes and the problem with my old editing program. However, I’ve got a new version of Paint Shop Pro, and I’m slowly trying to get back in the habit of blogging while handling increased work responsibilities. X Games Austin has come and gone, but we still have the memories so let’s revisit them, shall we?
I didn’t head to Austin until Friday due to work and lack of events prior to Friday afternoon, but I did catch Step Up and Flat-track on TV. So here were some of the things I noted.
- I was bummed to miss out on Step Up again since this year was Matt Buyten’s last. I’ve been following his career for more than 10 years, and he’s just an awesome guy. Unfortunately he got knocked out pretty early.
- Bryce Hudson has “Soap Boy” on the back of his jersey, which was adorable.
- It was interesting to see who was close friends with whom. The cameras kept showing Bryce and talking with Jarryd McNeil (and even giving him pointers) while Matt was chatting with Ronnie Renner a few times.
- Matt and Ronnie’s friendship must be like a trip through the history of Step Up. Both guys have a ton of jumps under their belts.
- I could not believe this was Jarryd’s first X Games Step-Up competition. He flew so high.
- I was not a fan of the shared gold medals. While I understood the time limits with live TV, it felt SO anticlimactic. It would have been awesome to see how high Jarryd and Libor Podmol could have gone. I was stoked for both winners though.
- I didn’t get the hype over it. It’s just not as exciting as say, motocross. Also I don’t know why they didn’t have women’s racing too.
- Tough luck for last year’s winner Bryan Smith. He crashed around the first turn and took another guy out. I thought he could gain some ground, but once you’re out, you’re out. The 20 laps went by super fast.
- Redemption for Jared Mees was clearly the headline for the night.
After the weather (and my parents) threatened to make Austin a no-go, we made it and it was freakin’ hot and sunny. The earlier rain had made Dallas cooler so I thought it would be the same. Nope. I got to COTA as Skateboard Vert under way, and the skaters were flying high despite the heat.
- When I watched the TV footage later, I saw how miserable the guys were out in the sun (though what do you expect from Texas?). They didn’t look it at on the ramp.
- Youth won out this time with the podium being all under 21.
- I wore my Boneless One 3 shirt that day, and I’d like to think it gave our gold and bronze medalists some luck. That event was where I got introduced to Sam Beckett and Jimmy Wilkins, who were relatively newcomers back then. It’s great to see how far they’ve come, especially Sam who was on point all the way.
- I feel like bonelesses have come back into style recently. That or I’m just more aware of them having learned about Jeff Phillips.
- Silver went to Moto Shibata, this WILD Japanese skater. He went so hard and so high!
- Even though I’ve seen it in person, I remain unable to figure out how Bob Burnquist lands some of his tricks.
- There was a woman near me who kept screaming Bob’s name. She got really excited when Bucky Lasek was on too so either they were the two she knew or she loved the legends. Both are okay; I enjoyed her unexpected enthusiasm.
- Mitchie Brusco wins for Mr. Congeniality because he did not let the heat and humidity dampen his mood. He’s also gotten SO tall.
BMX Vert overlapped with Freestyle Moto X so I had to miss it. I’m not sure why there weren’t any morning events because it would have kept the events from overlapping. Also you’d have less grumpy athletes.
Freestyle Moto X
- The viewing area was kind of confusing. The area by the pits was for VIP, and if you stood behind them, you would end up in a high traffic area. My allergies made me avoid sitting on grass so I wound up standing next to the fence on the quarterpipe side. It was not the greatest view for Freestyle because the quarterpipe was optional.
- Although my eyes and sinuses disagreed, it was an honor to get some of that roost.
- FMX tricks look cool on TV, but nothing compares to seeing them in person. They go by so fast, but you appreciate how much risk goes into it. I can’t describe how amazing to see tricks like the bike flip, the body varial, the flair, and the DOUBLE BACKFLIP in person!
- Aussies swept and were on top of their pelvic thrust game. I wanted to introduce Bilko to some burlesque dancers I know.
- I never thought FMX would give me dance inspiration, but Adam Jones and Levi Sherwood really extend their bodies out with every tricks and their lines are ballet-level gorgeous.
- Josh Sheehan was the happiest gold medalist I’ve seen. I appreciate the time he took to take photos and sign autographs because he had one busy X Games schedule… 4 events in 3 days!
- No seriously, look at how stoked he is:
- It’s interesting to contrast Josh with the serious and almost sedate silver medalist, Rob Adelberg. Even after I congratulated him, he was very chill (and that’s not a negative against him since I’m the exact same).
- There were some ominous-looking clouds near the end of the competition. While the photos look cool now, I was getting worried.
Clinton Moore looks like he’s in a post-apocalyptic movie.
Although Freestyle made concluded before the storms, things got really scary after the medal ceremony. Those clouds moved in really quickly, and the wind picked up a lot. As a result, Skateboard Big Air was postponed before they got through Round One. Then they made everyone evacuate the venue due to the scary lightning. I kind of felt bad for the people who came for the concerts because they were straight-up canceled.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Jen X Games experience without a rant about annoying people. Fangirls get a bad rep. The most obnoxious people I encountered were drunk college-aged guys who didn’t care about the contests, older men who get in my way their iPad and beer, and a dude who cat-called me by shouting “Panda panda!” in response to my hat. When you contrast that with the teenage girls who encouraged me to Gus Kenworthy’s attention in Aspen, I don’t understand why fangirls are demonized. Okay I do, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it. Just like I don’t have accept how the X Games camera guy kept focusing on the gross white dudes with dreds. They may have stood out, but let’s not promote cultural appropriation, X Games.
Despite frustrating people and scary lightning, I had a great Friday at X Games Austin. I was glad I caught skateboarding this year since I had to skip that last year. I was also happy to see FMX back because that’s my favorite event. It’s been years since I’ve seen it live, and the progression is just out of this world.
A good chunk of my delay was because it took forever to get photos edited and videos uploaded, but now you can check them out: Youtube videos and Flickr album. I’m going by each day so you’ll have to get updates to know when more are uploaded.