Posts Tagged ‘freestyle BMX’

Okay I lied about doing a wrap-up of X Games Minneapolis 2018 (although I do reference it a lot below).  You can revisit those memories here: Thursday recap, Friday recap, and Saturday/Sunday recap.

X Games Sydney was super rad even if the time difference didn’t allow me to join in live.  I was supposed to have this up before X Games Aspen, but it’s been a busy couple of months.  In any case, enjoy this look-back at the inaugural Australian X Games event.

Best Female Athlete – Mariah Duran (Skate)

Mariah Duran had an awesome year in 2018, and it’s been a long time coming.  She showed that there was more than luck involved in her Minneapolis win by upping the ante and nailing all her tricks.

Best Male Athlete – Tom Pages (Moto-X)
Like Mariah, Tom Pages was out to prove that his victory in Minneapolis wasn’t a fluke.  He overcame a quickly deteriorating course and a crash in his first run to throw down his signature mind-blowing tricks, plus a no-handed double backflip, to get his second gold.

Newcomer to Watch – Dawid Godziek (BMX)
Another individual who conquered a muddy course was BMX Dirt’s Dawid Godziek.  While others put down a safety run to ensure a top spot, Dawid hucked it huge and became the first Polish athlete to medal and win at X Games. (more…)

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Saturday was jam-packed with events.  We wound up taking a break in the middle.  Unfortunately that led to missing a good portion of the BMX Dirt finals because there weren’t a lot of restaurants open on the side of town close to the stadium.

MOTO X STEP UP

  • Bad luck for Bryce Hudson, getting eliminated first and dislocating his shoulder.  Then he proposed to his girlfriend and she said “yes” so he still won in the end.
  • Colby Raha showed that you also need to remember to go forward, as well as up, to clear the bar.
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  • Jarryd McNeil could’ve gone a few feet higher, but he did what was necessary to get the gold.  Later I learned that he didn’t immediately go to the interview/waiting area because he threw up from nerves.  Hopefully next year will be more relaxing (as much as that is possible for Step Up).

WOMEN’S SKATEBOARD STREET

  • Mariah Duran was on fire!  She’s really upped her game.
  • Leticia Bufoni and Alexis Sablone were the most consistent in landing their runs.
  • My parents opted to not watch the finals due to all the misses/falls in the qualifier.  They missed out on a great competition, and everyone was landing their tricks.
  • I came with a mission to get Lacey Baker to sign her “Push with Pride” print.  At first, she didn’t notice me, but the guy next to me called out to her.  Thank you fellow fan!  She looked tired so we didn’t talk, but I appreciated that she did take the time to sign autographs.
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BMX DIRT (more…)

Friday was jam-packed with events, and I got Floor Access too.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten when access started, and the ticket didn’t say when.  One volunteer said I could go down in the morning so that’s what I did.  Then I got kicked out of one area, forbidden from another, and then invited in the media platform behind the photographers for a portion of the Women’s Skateboard Street Qualifier.

Women’s Skateboard Street Qualifier

  • The skaters seemed really chill even if it was a tight competition for the final qualifying spots.
  • Nanaka Fujisawa did really well for a newcomer (and a young’un).
  • Mariah Duran was ON.  Both of her qualifying runs were among the highest scoring.
  • Then there’s Alexis Sablone, whom you can count on for hitting some of the biggest tricks.
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Being on the floor was too nerve-wracking so I decided to head back up for to join my parents to watch BMX Dirt Qualifiers.  Unfortunately, all the doors look the same, and I got lost, wound up where all the athletes were, and then finally found another elevator with some VIPs.  As a result, I missed a chunk of the BMX Dirt Qualifiers but I caught the second runs.

BMX Dirt Qualifiers

  • Everybody was pulling out all the stops.  Who was going to enter the final kept changing up to the very end it seemed, and some  former gold medalists like Ryan Nyquist and Kevin Peraza didn’t make it.day2_4057
    You can always count on Kevin for great extension.
  • When did cash rolls and tailwhip backflips become staples?
  • My mom knows nothing about action sports or how scoring works for any event, but she was very impressed with Brian Fox’s first run.
  • Dawid Godziek was a name I wasn’t familiar with, but I’m gonna remember it how huge he went.

(more…)

Since X Games Sydney is happening right now, I thought I would hustle and finally get around my X Games Minneapolis recaps.   It’s not going well, and I can make excuses, but I’m gonna hunker down (without missing the action from Sydney).  Minneapolis was so different from Austin, both the city and the Games.  Although everyone was stoked that we’d be indoors, the stadium format makes me feel more distant.  As a result, getting Floor Access was SO worth it.

Vert, however, was outside.  Thankfully the rain had stopped a couple hours before the first event started.  We were in the back at first since we got there kind of late, and with it being nighttime as well, I don’t have as many photos this time around.

Skateboard Vert

  • Bucky Lasek was off his game and falling a lot.  Later we learned that he had a migraine.  Once I looked up to see if I had a migraine or just a severe headache, and knowing what the symptoms are, I have to give Bucky all the props.
  • Sandro Dias… talk about a comeback!  He was so close to landing a 900.
  • Somehow, my two photos that turned out okay were both of Marcelo Bastos, the number one qualifier from the previous night.
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  • It makes so much sense that Jimmy Wilkins’ mom is a ballet dancer.  He’s so graceful and has great extension.  Long legs help, but knowing your lines takes it to a new level.
  • Moto Shibata had some of the sickest, most difficult tricks, but he didn’t get enough amplitude to take the lead.  I thought he was scored a bit low though.

(more…)

This was not how I wanted to return to posting.  I was getting ready to write a post this weekend, and then I got the horrible news.  Yesterday, BMX legend and all-around awesome guy Kevin Robinson died from a stroke.

I’m gutted.  Not only am I still dealing with the  passing of Dave Mirra and more recently, Nicky Hayden (in additional to other losses), but I knew Kevin.  He was one of the first action sports athletes I met, and my brother and I followed his career diligently for the past 17 years since we saw him pull off the first no-handed flair at the 2000 Gravity Games.

In 2001, a BMX show took place near Fort Worth, and we begged my mom to take us and made posters.  Kevin Robinson was the biggest name there so my brother made a sign that said, “Texas wants to see a flair”.   I’m not sure if the photos my mom too are still around (I printed out a couple and saved the one below), but I’ll never forget my first action sports event.  Then we got Pat Miller’s autograph.  My mom saw Kevin talking to someone in the distance and actually yelled his name.  I will be eternally mortified (because my mom knows nothing about BMX and I didn’t want to bother him) and grateful.  He was super nice and even gave my brother advice on how to bunny hop.  It was one of the best days of my life.

kevin robinson

Throughout the years, my mom would still ask us about Kevin when we watched the X Games.  We cheered his record-breaking moments and victories and grew alarmed at his injuries.  I was sad to learn that he retired before I could see him ride again, but I had always hoped to catch him at X Games Austin.  Although that never happened, we did interact very briefly on social media a couple of times.  He liked my posts and responded to a suggestion I had for his anti-bullying program.

That brings me to one of the things I admired about him.  Kevin was a great role model and philanthropist.  He also was an advocate for traumatic brain injury research, having suffered many concussions and lost two friends (Junior Seau and Dave Mirra) to the tragic effects of chronic brain encephalitis.  My current career is in TBI research, and I’m going to keep working hard so that maybe there will be a breakthrough in how to help riders recover and how to make things safer.

My heart really goes out to his family.  His social media was often filled with praises for the various accomplishments of his kids and love for his wife.  I also feel for his BMX family, as he has mentored and inspired many riders.  He inspired me too.

kevin

Photo from Kyle Carlson (Instagram)

At X Games Austin 2016, he led a touching tribute to Dave Mirra.  I know we’ll be paying tribute to him in a similar way, but in the meantime, we’ll have to take time to process this tragic loss.  Ride in peace, K-Rob!

Hello, anybody here?  I know I meant to return earlier, but life and my mind had other plans.  Blogging and photo editing just haven’t held my interest even with my favorite topics.s  However, I’ve been meaning to tie up loose ends, and I am hoping that this will generate enough momentum to continue this blog.  I’m just gonna step back from the X Games recaps and “awards” (especially since I can’t watch as easily) to cover some other aspects of action sports.  But loose ends first, you can revisit my previous X Games Austin 2016 recaps here and here.

The last day of X Games Austin 2016 was bittersweet.  We knew it was the last day for X Games to be in Austin (at least in the near future), and rather than ending on a high note, the weather decided to be jerky in a different way.  Despite the clear skies, the wind was too strong for Big Air.  They waited to the last minute to make the announcement so you could tell that everybody wanted to make things work.  I know people are angry about cancellations and the end of X Games’ contract with COTA, but I would rather the athletes be safe and able to do what they came out to do.

BMX Dirt

    • First runs were pretty solid for most of the guys.  Second and third runs had them taking more risks.
    • That led to TJ Ellis hurting his shoulder.  Mike “Hucker” Clark ran down the ramp to check on him.  I thought that was pretty cool since it’s a long way down and he was up not too long afterward. day4_4104
      See, Hucker did not run out of energy.
    • Kyle Baldock went HUGE but crashed out at the end.
    • The announcers kept mentioning how old Cory Nastazio is.  It was supposed to emphasize what a legend he is, but it just sounded insulting.
    • Kevin Peraza threw the sickest lawn-dart frontflip ever.

(more…)

Obviously I wasn’t expecting to go on hiatus again since I was in the middle of X Games Austin posts. It was a big snowball of work, other hobbies, politics, and yes, lack of motivation that kept me away. I’m looking to reignite the spark for blogging, and I’m gonna try to plow through these X Games posts (I may be skipping the 2017 winter events).

Just to refresh your memory, here was my previous post about the first two days of X Games Austin 2016.  Saturday was a supposed to have been a busy day, but the weather had other plans. The rain kept coming and going so events got moved to later in day or postponed until Sunday. With how frustrated I felt as a spectator, I can only imagine how much worse it was for the athletes.

Women’s Skate Street

  •  I didn’t get to catch much of women’s skate street because it started pouring shortly after the comp began.
  • Also, due to the raised stage, I couldn’t get a good view of the rails without going onto the grass (which I’m allergic to).
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  • It was cool seeing some of the women, especially Mariah Duran, help clean up the course later on in the replay.  They at least were in good spirits.
  • Later I learned that the spines on the fake cacti were actual screws.  Are they trying to make this more dangerous?!

The one upside to the rain was that while seeking shelter, I was able to meet Jamie Bestwick and get his autograph.  He really likes Austin so he was bummed that this was the last year (and he didn’t fault me for missing BMX Vert this year).

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He’s so tall and I’m so short that I wasn’t sure we’d fit in the frame. (more…)

It is with great sadness that I halt my X Games recaps for this post.  Most of you probably have heard the news, but in case you haven’t, action sports legend Dave Mirra died yesterday from what appears to be a suicide.  When I was in Aspen, I was thinking about how I hadn’t seen much from him and how I missed his presence. Then I read what happened, and my heart has been aching for his family, his friends, and the community.

I never met Dave, but he was one of the key figures in my early years of watching the X Games and other related contests.  He was the epitome of an athlete, someone who worked hard to reach the top of the podium.  I remember those fierce showdowns with Jay Miron and Jamie Bestwick.  When he pulled the first double backflip in X Games BMX Park, I went nuts.  This was a guy who pushed the limits, the “Miracle Boy”. He took BMX to another level.

Dave was also a friendly face that helped action sports reach a broader audience.  I remember the friendly banter that happened between him, Ryan Nyquist, and Dennis McCoy in the behind-the-scenes features of various BMX tours.  Dave was always like someone who didn’t quit.  When he retired from BMX, he did rally.  After that, he trained for triathlons.    No matter what he did, he put 100% and it showed.

At the end of the day though, it’s not the number of gold medals you have or world records you set.  It’s the impact you have, and last night, I couldn’t help but tear up at all the tribute posts fellow athletes, BMX and other, and even non-action sports folks shared.  He touched so many of us.

Death is an unfortunate aspect of action sports, but Dave’s shocked us all.  It’s one thing to hear about someone having an accident while doing something they live for; it’s another to hear that they’ve taken their own life.  It’s a sobering reminder of how people who seem to have it all, who put on a smiling face, may be hurting deep inside.  I worry about the other athletes because we hardly ever hear about their troubles and because I have to wonder if the effects of brain injury played a role.  That’s something to ponder when our grief has subsided a bit.

A couple days ago, Dave posted on his Instagram: “Fight to win!  We all have a battles [sic] to fight.  Never back down.  Love you all.”.  We might not ever understand what has happened, but we have to try to reach out, to support one another, to push for answers if it can save a life, and to live.  Rest in peace, Dave Mirra.  We’ll miss you, but we’ll never forget you.

From ESPN

From ESPN

Unlike many of my fellow Dallasites, going to the State Fair of Texas was never a tradition of mine.  Then I discovered that Big Time Actionsports put on a BMX show every year.  This time I went on a weekend so I had to fight the crowds.  I planted myself in front of the open loop transfer with the hope of getting a sick shot, but that was easier said than done.  The position wasn’t ideal for anything else so I didn’t get many photos.  It was a great learning experience for photography (especially since my settings weren’t good either).

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Pete Brandt with Jimmy Coleman announcing and Mat Olson applauding (more…)

We’ve reached the end. . . reluctantly. I have some great memories of being at the X Games, and I got to re-live some of it by watching all the replays.  In case you missed any of my recaps, here are the links: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Also, if you want to see more photos, mosey on over to my Flickr.

Best Female Athlete – Alexis Sablone (Skateboard)
Nobody was more on point in the Women’s Skateboard Street contest than Alexis Sablone. She took risks and it paid off with her solid skating.

Best Male Athlete – Daniel Sandoval (BMX)
What a weekend it was for Daniel Sandoval. First he blasted through the Park course to win gold, and then he came in Dirt as an alternate, overcoming nerves to lead the pack for a good portion of the finals.

Newcomer to Watch – Mykel Larrin (BMX)
XG2015 BMX Vert05
Another BMXer who had a great time was Mykel Larrin. After a good performance in Vert, he came into Big Air as an alternate and walked away with silver, and this was his second X Games.

Most Dramatic Finals – tie between RallyCar Racing and Stadium Super Trucks
I couldn’t decide between all the events, but eventually I narrowed it down to one that was fantastic in person (despite the elements) and one that made me excited at home.  There’s the joke that “with age comes the cage”, but both Rally and Stadium Super Trucks have produced more carnage than any race I’ve seen.

Best Trick – Thomas Pages’ Bike Flip (Moto X)
Although this was another tough category, I had to give it Thomas Pages. He shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff on a dirt bike, and yet he rode away in this debut event.

Picture Perfect Moment – Shaded view of BMX Vert  photo josh20duplechian_zpswjs2risw.jpg
By Joshua Duplechian/ESPN. From xgames.espn.go.com
I thought it would be unfair to select one of my photos so I picked my favorite from another photographer. I’m still a little biased since this was my parasol. Nevertheless, it was quite an impressive shot to get from the middle of a crowd, and he was nice to not disturb me (red hat) and my parents (camo hat and tan hat).

My favorite from my own is the one of Bob Burnquist doing his one-footed switch ollie over the MegaRamp gap. You can see clearly the commitment, as well as the difficulty.

Best Moment Outside Competition – Travis Pastrana rides a mechanical bull XG2015 09
Getting to see Travis Pastrana take on the mechanical bull made standing in the sun totally worth it. He did it twice too since he didn’t want to be shown up by a couple of little kids.

Most Educational Moment – Burt Jenner teaches us about acceptance and pronouns
I was irked by the fact that X Games asked Burt Jenner about Caitlyn in the middle of the Stadium Super Trucks; that was probably the last thing on his mind. However, Burt demonstrated a lot of grace and showed that it’s okay to mess up pronouns as long as you apologize and try your best. I think the X Games commentators could have learned a lot from this instance.

Greatest Comeback – Maria Forsberg (Moto X)
Having a baby is a tough job. That’s not something I would have realized until I saw several of my peers juggle pregnancy and raising a kid with their daily lives. Therefore, I have to give Maria Forsberg props for coming out of retirement and then placing 5th in Women’s Enduro X final.

Most Inspirational – Colton Satterfield lands the double flair and gives a moving speech in BMX Big Air
Watching Colton make history and land the double flair on his final attempt, the last run of the night, was such a magical moment. Then he took it a step further and talked about how last year’s gold made him realize that he had the power to inspire others, and that’s what he came out to do this year. His conversation with Jack Mitrani on X Games Extra was making me tear up because it exemplified what drew me into action sports.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Bob Burnquist (Skateboard) XG2015 Big Air Doubles04
How have I gone so long without giving the winningest X Games athlete this award? I guess it’s because Bob Burnquist is still going strong. He added too Big Air gold medals to his collection while dealing with a broken arm. Nothing has held him down and nothing can, and more than anyone, he truly deserves his honor.

Congratulations again to all the winners and really props to all the athletes! I have a new-found appreciation for how hard they work. Get well soon to everyone who got banged up. Thanks to everyone who signed autographs and stopped for photos; y’all truly made the experience even more special. That’s all for now. See you in Aspen (virtually— not sure I can brave the cold just yet… maybe one day).

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