Posts Tagged ‘freestyle motocross’

I debated about making predictions since I wouldn’t necessarily call these educated guesses (it’s always harder for me to keep up with summer events due to schedule conflicts).  Also because I’m going to be at the X Games, I anticipate changes to my posts wrapping up the event.  Nevertheless picking winners is always fun, and I do have previous years to go on so here’s what I’ve got:

BMX Dirt – Kyle Baldock
BMX Park – Daniel Dhers
BMX Vert – Jamie Bestwick
BMX Big Air – Morgan Wade
Moto X Step-Up – Ronnie Renner
Moto X QuarterPipe – Thomas Pages
Moto X Speed and Style – Mike Mason
Rally Car Racing – Scott Speed
Skateboard Street Women’s – Alana Smith
Skateboard Street Men’s – Nyjah Huston
Skateboard Big Air – Edgard Pereira
Skateboard Park – Pedro Barros
Skateboard Vert – Pierre Luc-Gagnon

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Last year, I wrote a post about the physics behind a triple backflip in BMX.  Well, as most of you know by now, Josh Sheehan has done a triple backflip on a dirt bike.  If you haven’t seen the video, here it is:

Now that he’s done what we had thought would be the impossible (though we said that about the double before Travis did it), that leaves us with the question of whether there is a limit. Buzz Skyline did some calculations at his blog, eXtreme Sports Physics, and came up with a total of four flips.


Image from Buzz Skyline.  Click here for more images of his calculations.

Another physics blog, Physics Buzz, took a look at the front flip. While a backflip has the rider utilizing the bike’s natural momentum and the ramp’s angle (which shaves off half of the first rotation), a front flip combats those forces AND the landing is blind. As Jim DeChamp told ESPN, “[I]t’s not a natural beauty trick— it’s like, that is awkward, that is wrong.” The Physics Buzz post looks at both what happens when a front flip is executed properly and when things go wrong.

I’m pretty sure we’re not going to see a triple backflip in the X Games. The ramps just aren’t big enough. Who knows about the double backflip or the front flip, but my guess is that the new Quarterpipe event is going to take riders in the direction of off-axis flips and 360s. We’ll see.

This post is a continuation of the discussion on sexism in action sports.  Click here for part 1.

When I first got into action sports, I adopted some of the culture’s misogynistic attitudes without being fully aware of it.  After all, I vehemently supported the idea that a female FMX rider could rise among the ranks of the best.  However, I still joined in the shaming of girls who seemed to be into the sport for the guys.  It’s much like the “fake geek girl” attitude I’ve seen in nerd culture, where attractive women are judged automatically.  Even though no one wants disingenuity, it’s not up to us to determine who is “real” without getting to know them.  Plus action sports wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without the casual fans.  I was lucky to have joined FMX forums run by women in the industry; plus I gave off the little sister vibe.  How we look (or are perceived to appear) shouldn’t matter, but it does.

This brings me to Kim Woozy’s TED Talk:

She made me think about the mixed reactions female action sports athletes have gotten for posing nude for ESPN the Magazine‘s Body Issue.  I am all for anyone embracing their bodies, and nudity shouldn’t be a big deal.  Plus the Body Issue does a great job of highlighting different sizes, shapes, and skin tones, as well as “imperfections” like tan lines and scars.  Nevertheless, Kim and Jen Hudak make good points in their criticisms of sexy shoots.  Why do those get more attention than actual achievements?

One of my friends posted a link on Facebook about the Body Issue, praising the use of Prince Fielder on the cover.  Someone had commented that women don’t seem to get the same treatment, citing Jamie Anderson’s cover.  While the photo of Jamie perfectly captures her spirit and personality, I had to partly agree with the comment.  Jamie’s looks are irrelevant, but the artistic choice for the photo is something to question.  She’s posing (in kind of a stereotypical modeling way too), not snowboarding.  Contrast that with the shot of Coco Ho.  It’s dynamic and more inspiring.

Jamie Anderson.  By Peggy Sirota/ ESPN the Magazine

Jamie Anderson. By Peggy Sirota/ ESPN the Magazine

Coco Ho.  By Morgan Maassen/ ESPN The Magazine

Coco Ho. By Morgan Maassen/ ESPN The Magazine

Now I don’t fault Jamie since she was not in charge of the shoot, but I hope ESPN the Magazine will consider how they depict their cover models (it’s worth noting that the other female cover model, Venus Williams, was also posing and didn’t even have a racket).

Another thing that bothered me about the Body Issue was the behind-the-scenes footage of Travis Pastrana and Lyn-Z Adams Pastrana.  First, I wish Lyn-Z was skateboarding instead of riding in the back.  I know the artistic director probably wanted a fun couple’s shot, but it sends the message that Lyn-Z’s career takes a backseat.  On top of that, they captured Travis joking about how he got to see his “wife’s tits all day”.  Although I’m sure Lyn-Z was not offended by the comment, it’s still derogatory and inappropriate to air.  It reinforces the idea that looks are the most important thing for a girl and disregards the struggles Lyn-Z has faced as a female skateboarder.  I’m very disappointed in both ESPN and Travis Pastrana.

These are little things that have a major impact.  They contribute to the misogyny that women in action sports (whether they are athletes, industry folks, or fans) face.  When male skaters and riders call each other “pussy” or “bitch”, they are associating femininity with weakness.  That, in turn, alienates the women who are already fighting this double standard of having to be attractive to get attention but not too pretty to where they won’t be taken seriously.  One thing I disagree with Jen on her critique of sexy shoots is how much it will injure a female athlete’s career. It’s less about the photos themselves (because after all, we remember the achivements of Danica Patrick and Elena Hight) and more about that ridiculous double standard and the constant objectification of women by the media and even by their peers. Who cares if some of us wear no make-up and have grease stains on our clothes while others of us wear heels on weekends and are willing to pose nude? Our love of actions sports should be what matters, and until that is the case, I will not stop fighting for more feminism in the culture.

In an unfortunate turn of events, I wound up being out of the state just as the X Games came to Austin.  Despite catching bits and pieces of the live footage and keeping up with results on-line, I had to mainly watch the replays.   Not that it kept me from handing out my awards to the best of the best.  I’ve already made up my mind to go next year, and I’m already looking forward to it.

Best Female Athlete – Emma Gilmour (Rally)

Given how many sexist female driver comments I’ve heard from my own friends and family, I can only imagine how much adversity Emma Gilmour has faced.  The RallyCross community seems to really support her though, and she drove well, making it to the semis and unlike many of the guys, she didn’t crash once.

Best Male Athlete – Chase Hawk (BMX)
Even though I have some strong criticisms about BMX Park (mainly WTF judges?!), Chase still rode really well.  He was super smooth and remained cool under the eyes of his hometown watching.  You did Austinno, Texas proud!

Newcomers to Watch – Jimmy Wilkins and Alana Smith (Skateboarding)
I couldn’t pick between the two so we have a tie.  I missed Alana’s record-breaking Street debut in Barcelona, but she’s still one of the young’uns and definitely has the star power to be the female equivalent of Ryan Sheckler or Nyjah Huston.  As for Jimmy, the youngest Skateboard Vert winner, he killed it!  There has been much doubt over the new generation of skaters, but Jimmy is proving that they have the versatility and amplitude to rise to the top.

Most Dramatic Finals – Skateboard Big Air
With everyone taking an all-or-nothing approach, it was an exciting competition. Edgard Pereira unleashed a never-before-seen trick, and a point determined the difference between bronze and silver, silver and gold. In a very touching conclusion, the youngester Tom Schaar gets the gold handed to him by his friend from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
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Cameron Copeland and Tom Schaar. From mystatesman.com

Best Trick – Kyle Baldock’s front flip (BMX)
The highlight of Kyle’s winning run in BMX Dirt was the beautiful front flip. Most guys tuck before they launch themselves off the ramp, but he stretches out, which makes him look like he’s going in slow-mo.

Picture Perfect Moment – Blue Hour BMX vert by the Capitol
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By Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America (from Zimbio)
The Blue Hour is a term in photography for the brief time in the evening when the sky is this vibrant blue. Simon Tabron’s white tires provide a striking contrast while the State Capitol provides a dramatic backdrop.

Best Moment Outside Competition – Female riders check out the street course (BMX)
With a disappointing lack of women in the summer events, X Games made a huge step forward by inviting Angie Mariano, Perris Benegas, and Nina Buitrago to ride the BMX Street course. Ride BMX got a video of them practicing with the guys, and hopefully this means we’ll see a women’s division in the future.

Most Educational Moment – Sport Science breaks down Jamie Bestwick’s front flip flair

The front flip flair seems inhuman, but with physics, Sport Science proves that it is feasible. I’m glad there is some method to the madness.

Greatest Comeback – Taddy Blazusiak (Moto X)
Several times during the Men’s Enduro X final, the identity of the winner seemed to be uncertain. Taddy recovered from his bobbles though and held off many challengers, proving why he’s the dominant force in the sport.

Most Inspirational – Colton Satterfield rallies for Big Air and wins (BMX)
The wind was so strong that Freestyle Moto X was canceled. The same could have happened for BMX Big Air if Colton had not taken the initiative to get his fellow riders to do it for the crowd. If battling Mother Nature wasn’t enough, he unleashes a sick no-handed corked 720 barspin to triple tailwhip. Definitely the night’s hero.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Ronnie Renner (Moto X)
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By Drew Ruiz/KTM (motorcycle-usa.com)
Ronnie Renner has ten medals in Step-Up, five being gold. He’s also a world-record holder and one of the veterans of FMX. At Austin, he showed no signs of slowing down by easily grabbing gold #5 (check out the height from his GoPro), and we got to see some of those signature dance moves that made him one to watch over ten years ago.

To commemorate two decades of competition and innovation, X Games Austin compiled a series of milestones titled “20 Years 20 Firsts”.  Fans could vote on their favorite, and the winner was Elena Hight stomping the first ever double backside alley-oop rodeo.

The list inspired me to create one of my own.  Since this year’s X Games marks my fifteenth year of following the competition (I started watching in 1999), I decided to countdown my top fifteen firsts at X Games.

15. Jake Brown’s 720 in Skateboard Big Air (2007) – The subsequent fall overshadowed his history-making achievement, and while the horror will forever be etched in my mind, Jake’s daring trick deserves to be remembered as well.

14. TJ Schiller’s double cork 1620 in Ski Big Air (2011) – I used to be able to keep up with the math, but then TJ came along and made me wish I had a calculator.  Although he may have had to settle for second, he raised the bar for freeskiing.

13. Eito Yasutoko becomes the first Asian gold medalist in Men’s Vert Skating (2000) – He was the first Asian I saw win an X Games event (I missed seeing Ayumi Kawasaki the previous year).  It gave me something to relate to and proved that action sports is truly global.

12. Tucker Hibbert wins the first Snocross race at X (2000) – Never did I think I would be into snowmobiles, but watching 15-year-old Tucker become the youngest X Games gold medalist, beating out his father in the process, got me interested.
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Photo by Aaron Kores/ESPN.com

11. Ashley Fiolek becomes the first deaf X Games medalist in Women’s Moto X Super X (2009) – Ashley’s story is so inspiring and to see her win showed that with hard work, determination, and skill, you can overcome great odds.

10. Elena Hight’s double backside alley-oop rodeo in Women’s Snowboard Superpipe (2013) – Elena’s achievement proved that gender doesn’t matter, just innovation.  The fact that she won the vote is an encouraging step for female action sports athletes in overcoming the glass ceiling.

9. Zacky Warden’s bike flip backflip to late tailwhip in BMX Big Air (2013) – There are so many things going on in that trick combo that it’s hard to break it down without slow-mo.  The creativity and technicality is mind-blowing.

8. Torstein Horgmo’s triple flip in Snowboard Big Air (2011) – Although it may have been more flip than cork, no one thought a triple anything was possible.  Torstein took the chance and set in motion the events that would change snowboarding.

7. Fabiola da Silva and Ayumi Kawasaki compete in the Men’s Vert Skating (2001) – Thanks to the Fabiola Rule, both ladies’ scores were judged against the men.  Although neither qualified for the finals, it opened doors and foreshadowed Fabiola’s future boundary-shattering accomplishments.
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Ayumi Kawasaki in the prelims. Photo by Bakke/Shazamm/ESPN (from Skatelog)

6. Caleb Wyatt’s no-handed to no-footed backflip on snow in Moto X Best Trick (2004) – As backflips were starting to become the norm, Caleb took it to a whole new level while on tricky terrain.  He shut up all the haters, and heck the whole thing even inspired poetry.

5. Kevin Robinson’s double flair in BMX Vert Best Trick (2006) – Kevin is best known for his flair, and now he’ll be immortalized for doing the first double flair.  The highlight of watching it was telling my mom that this is where the rider we saw a few years back is and having her root for Kevin too.

4. Vicki Golden becomes the first female freestyle motocross competitor in Moto X Best Whip (2013) – When I got into action sports, I fantasized about being the first female FMX rider at the X Games.  People told me it wasn’t possible for any woman to ride with the boys, but Vicki proved them wrong.

3. Travis Pastrana’s double backflip in Moto X Best Trick (2006) – This was the first time I remember being completely unsure of the outcome because a double backflip on a dirt bike seemed so far-fetched.  The suspense, the glorious payout, and the mutual admiration of both fans and non-fans alike made this one of the best moments ever.
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Photo by Christian Pondella/Red Bull Photo Files (from Motorcycle-USA)

2. Travis Pastrana wins the first Moto X gold (1999) – I had to put Travis twice because if it weren’t for him, I would have never gotten into FMX and be where I’m at.  He was the perfect ambassador for this new sport, and the rest is history.

1. Tony Hawk’s 900 in Skateboard Best Trick (1999) – This was the other moment from X Games that changed my life forever.  The sheer determination, coupled with the support from his fellow skaters and the disregard for competition rules, summed up what action sports was all about and inspired me to never give up.

I’m back! Just in time to begin a new season of winter action sports (I’m all signed up for Fantasy Freeride League, are you?). Before we begin with that, I have to share the post that never made it up prior to my hiatus. It’s a comprehensive recap of all four summer events.

The “global” (I put that in quotes because what happened to Asia?) X Games initiative was ambitious and a great way to reach out to the international community, but I think we can all agree that it was exhausting. Not to mention unfair to certain sports and parts of the world. Having just one summer and one winter event makes the X Games more special and easier to manage although I would like to see smaller events like the Asian X Games were previously. I could write essay on my thoughts, but instead, let’s focus on the sick action we saw in Foz do Iguaçu, Barcelona, Munich, and Los Angeles with my eXponential Awards.

Best Female Athlete – Vicki Golden (Moto X)
Vicki Golden is no stranger to breaking barriers. The first woman to qualify for an Arenacross race became the first female rider to compete in a FMX event, something I had hoped to see in my lifetime since I got into action sports. She snagged the bronze in Best Whip and then went on to grab her third gold in Women’s Moto-X Racing.
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From Trevor Brown, Jr. / ESPN

Best Male Athlete – Bob Burnquist (Skateboard)
At Foz, Bob Burnquist became the X Games athlete with the most medals, and he followed it up with two more Big Air golds for a record of 27 total. Although he didn’t get the grand slam, he still continued to compete with a broken nose.

Newcomer to Watch – Scott Speed (Rally)

How many people can say they won the first big race they entered? Scott Speed did just that at the RallyCross event in Foz. While he still has a learning curve, his Formula One and NASCAR experience make him a force to be reckoned with.

Most Dramatic Finals – BMX Freestyle Street in L.A.

There had been only one BMX Street champion in the X Games, and that was Garrett Reynolds. Everything changed in L.A. though when Chad Kerley got the day’s top score. It was close—Garrett actually match Chad’s 45—but it was time for a new king of street.

Best Trick – Zack Warden’s Iron Lotus to late tailwhip plus triple tailwhip (BMX)
Although I’ve already awarded the backflip bike flip, a.k.a. the Iron Lotus, best trick last year, Zach Warden deserves recognition for giving us a prime example of progression in the Big Air contest at Barcelona.  Just how many tricks can a guy cram into one jump and still have enough momentum to do a triple whip on the quarterpipe.

Picture Perfect Moment – Colton Satterfield and Jake Brown share the MegaRamp at Foz do Iguaçu (BMX and Skateboard)
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From Brett Wilhelm / ESPN
Skaters and BMXers have a reputation of not getting along, but this photo, in addition to being a stunning sunset shot, highlights the camaraderie that transcends sports and nationalities at the X Games.

Best Moment Outside of Competition – Tony Hawk’s kids clean the vert ramp.
The heavy rains in Barcelona were a big downer, but at least Tony Hawk’s kids managed to have some fun sliding on the vert ramp to mop it up. I bet Tony wishes they showed the same enthusiasm for household chores.

Most Educational Moment – Mike Schultz’s prosthetic leg (Moto X)
This is not exactly part of the X Games, but we got to see science benefit action sports. Mike Schultz was recognized this summer by Popular Science for engineering his own prosthetic to fit the dynamic action sports lifestyle. In addition to helping him win the Invention Award this year, his Versa Foot played a key role in his Adaptive Moto X gold.

Greatest Comeback – Bucky Lasek (Skateboard)
To use his words, Bucky Lasek hasn’t really gone anywhere, but he’s been missing the top of the podium for nine years. That changed with Foz, then Barcelona, Munich, and finally L.A.—a grand slam in Skateboard Vert.

Most Inspirational – Nyjah Huston (Skateboard)
Most people know Nyjah Huston as the street phenom. X Games aired a feature that showed the behind-the-scenes struggles with his family and how he was able to overcome it. I definitely see him in a new light.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Kevin Robinson (BMX)
The BMX Freestyle Big Air finals in L.A. felt like the end of an era. Longtime advocate and champion of the event, Kevin Robinson, was retiring from competition. I remember the first time I saw him ride on TV fourteen years ago and then meeting him three years later. Since then, I’ve followed his career with my brother and even my mom. It’s been an amazing run, and I’m glad he is happy with the choice that he’s made. Kevin, you’ll always been my family’s favorite rider.
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From Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

It’s been a great eleven years in L.A. So much history was made in the Staple Center, and so much heart was on display. However, I’m super stoked for Austin even if I happen to be out of state when the X Games are rolling out.

I’m deeply saddened by the death of freestyle motocross rider Eigo Sato.  He was the first Asian FMXer I knew of, which meant a lot to me.  I felt closer to the sport I loved seeing someone from the side of the world my family is from. Eigo also helped out Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.  He stayed strong despite losing his office and having family struggling with the nuclear crisis in his hometown of Iwaki. The FMX community already knows how great of a person he was, and I thought people outside of the action sports world should do. Since I also run a blog about Japanese culture, I decided to pay tribute by highlighting his achievements there. Click here to read the post.

A fellow motocross fan shared this touching tribute, and I wanted to pass it along:

RIP Eigo Sato 1978/2013 by mm-prod

My thoughts and prayers remain with his family and friends. Ride in peace, Eigo.

Last month, I attended the Progressive International Motorcycle Show after learning that freestyle motocross legend Carey Hart would be present. He wasn’t the only celebrity present. There was a good mix of icons from my adolescence (Carey, Kenny Bartram, and Scott “Mr. Daytona” Russell) and new faces in the motorcycle world (Aaron Colton, Elena Myers, Kyle Wyman, and Garrett Gerloff) to greet fans. Some of them were interviewed on-stage, and being the reporter/nerd that I am, I took notes.

Carey Hart was the big freestyle name so he was first. He talked about getting factory support for his team and how Ricky Carmichael was responsible for developing the bike and the champs that rode them, Ryan Dungey being the example. The interviewer joked about how RC had packed on a few pounds, but Carey said that RC would still beat him in a race because “muscle memory doesn’t go away”. An interesting thing he brought up was that he sees supercross as more of a team sport with mechanics and factor bikes while FMX is up to the individual because you can’t put things on a motorcycle to help you do tricks better (other than maybe grab holes or flip levers). Busy with his team and clothing (and most likely his family), Carey has no new projects planned in the near future.

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“Cowboy” Kenny Bartram, whom I haven’t seen/heard much of these days, came next. He still had the cowboy hat, but he finally got his teeth fixed (back in the day, he used to get hassled for his missing bottom teeth). He remains active in the FMX scene with Cowboy Kenny’s Steel Rodeo Tour. Although he misses competing, he admits that it’s an “incredible feeling” to know that he’ll walk away from an event in good health. Kenny also share a little secret: FMX practices really only involve five minutes of practicing a run and the rest is just them riding around.

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We then switched to street bikes with Aaron Colton finishing up the freestyler interviews. I’m not familiar with the Xtreme Drift League, but Aaron showed what sportbike freestyle was all about in a demo later in the afternoon. He began riding street bikes at the age of fourteen, which proved to be a difficult time with the 115-pound bikes and steep learning curve. Throughout the years, he’s worked his way up, and his favorite moment was winning a major event in 2006 in San Antonio.

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The next event brought me back to my teenage Speed Channel-watching days. There was going to be a special interview with Scott Russell. Where have I heard that name? I wondered upon hearing the announcement. Then it clicked: Mr. Daytona!

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A World Superbike and AMA Superbike Champion, Scott got the nickname after winning the Daytona 200 five times. He also holds the record for most 750cc AMA Supersport wins, a title that he says he’ll keep since they did away with the class. Despite his claim to fame, he didn’t do well on the Dayton course at first. He slowly figured out the “ocean of asphalt” and used a harder tire because so much heat was built up. Scott stated that his best rivals were Carl Fogarty and Doug Poland. When asked about his horrific accident at Daytona in 2001, he said that he knew it was the end. One audience member asked Scott about racing today, and he said though the new electronics in the bikes make racing safer (thus extending careers), it does take some of the rider out of the race because they don’t have to think about every little detail that goes into a turn.

Hearing all the interviews and meeting the riders were definitely the highlights of the Progressive Motorcycle Show. I want to start following sport bike stuff again. My interest in getting my own ride, possibly the TW200, has been renewed after talking with a dealer (the one I had originally talked to last year really discouraged me from getting a dual sport just because of my shortness). I had wanted to attend the beginner riders seminar, but the convention changed the schedule last minute and merged that seminar with the Yamaha Champions Riding School. Another thing they could’ve improved upon was the location of Aaron’s demo. It was in the corner of the convention center so you could only see him from two sides, which meant difficulty seeing from the back. It would’ve been cool if they had done it outside. Overall, it was a cool show with a lot of two-wheeled eye candy.

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Click here
for all my photos.

Missed out on the X Games action, or are you just missing it? Well, here’s a nice highlight reel:
This reel sums up the theme of this year’s Summer X Games for me: a return to the past. Some familiar faces topped the podium while newcomers demonstrate a bright-eyed enthusiasm I had as a teen who had just discovered action sports. I made my return to the FMX forums and was inspired to start skateboarding again. Even the soundtrack was nostalgic with new songs by Linkin Park, a band I was completely obsessed with in high school (I still like them; I’m just less fangirly). Enough reflecting though, let’s get to my top moments of X Games L.A. 2012.

Best Female Athlete – Alexis Sablone (Skateboard)
It’s hard to believe that Alexis was nervous about the course. She hit some of the biggest obstacles and gaps, and her high first run score made all the competitors step up their game. Her gold, medal number four, reinforces the fact that she is one of the most consistent skaters in Women’s Street.

Best Male Athlete – Garrett Reynolds (BMX)

Garrett had some tough competition this year, but his ability to combine the stylish big tricks with more technical ones makes him the undefeated BMX Street champion. What’s more impressive is that he claims to not ever train. He just rides because he likes it (and isn’t that how it should be?)

Newcomer to Watch – Tom Schaar (Skateboard)

Tom was the only member of the unlicensed group (as in they can’t legally drive) to make both the Big Air and Vert finals. He can do 900s and 1080s, and while he lacks the amplitude or technical tricks down yet to truly be a threat veterans like Bob Burnquist and Bucky Lasek, they have already got their eyes on him.

Most Dramatic Finals – Step-Up (Moto-X)
As much as I enjoy Step-Up, it’s not the most imaginative disciplines of FMX. This year, however, gave us an epic battle of will power and technique for the world record. It was nerve-wracking and a bit painful to watch, but the beating Matt Buyten and Ronnie Renner took made the finale so worth while.

Best Trick – Zack Warden’s Backflip Bike Flip (BMX)
The backflip bike flip is one of those tricks that makes absolutely no sense until you see it happen (and even then it’s mind-boggling). It’s so unique, and the precision and body awareness needed to not end up crashing in a tangle of limbs and handlebars makes this one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in a while.

Picture Perfect Moment – Taka Higashino’s rock solid flip (Moto-X)

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Photo by Michael Antonovich (Transworld Motocross)
This is my current desktop, and my mind continues to be blown by the image. It clearly captures what is so crazy about doing a rock solid flip.

Best Moment Outside Competition – Gary Young goes for the baby (BMX)
While others BMX Park riders were eyeing the gold, Gary was eyeing his phone. Two days before the contest, he actually rushed to San Diego after his wife was thought to have gone into labor. That wound up being a false alarm, but Gary admitted that he didn’t care about winning and was going to drop everything to be able to be with his family. Talk about devotion. “I do good here; I do bad here—either way I win a baby,” he told X Cast. Gary and his wife Sarah welcomed their baby girl Leena earlier today. Congratulations!

Most Educational Moment – Sport Science breaks down the physics of the Double Loop Dare

This presentation definitely made me appreciate the stunt a lot more, especially since the drivers made it look so easy. I’m glad they gave props to the engineers because without science, none of this would have been possible.

Greatest Comeback – Kevin Robinson (BMX)
Kevin has missed the last two Big Air finals, and in that time, he has endured five major dislocations and three surgeries. I was a bit worried that his shoulder would still cause him problems, especially after the hard slams he took this year. However, he forged ahead and wound up claiming bronze.

Most Inspirational – Kyle Loza (Moto-X)
Dealing with critics is never easy. Kyle has had many naysayers tell him that he doesn’t have what it takes to do the bike flip, and in the Big Air finals, he had to make the difficult decision of not taking a second run despite the backlash that would undoubtedly happen.  He handled all the booing and name-calling with grace, and that is why he’s one of the most inspirational athletes at this year’s X Games.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Carey Hart (Moto-X)

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Carey (right-side up) racing against Edgar Torrenteras.  Photo by Olivia Bush (X Games Tumblr).
While I’m not the first to give Carey a Lifetime Achievement Award, he truly deserves the recognition for all he has given FMX and the X Games.  In 2001, we saw one of the most horrific crashes at X; the next year, he reclaimed the backflip, now a staple in FMX. After a hiatus, he started racing SuperMoto and later Speed and Style. Although he didn’t make the finals this year, he had a good last X Games race.  We’re going to miss seeing you compete at X, Carey!

Before we completely wrap things up, I’d like to share an article that linked to this blog: “7 X-games rules to apply to your marriage”.  It gives you relationship advice with a FMX theme.  Maybe the newly engaged Taka Higashino should take some notes.

Saturday at the X Games was just crazy. There were so many events going on (half of which were competing with what was apparently the second longest Wimbledon match for airtime). Among them was the Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare. It was a short one-shot event, which almost seemed like a waste considering how much space the loop took up. However, the feat was impressive, and it’s now in the record books.

BMX thoughts

  • Park was like a trip down memory lane. Familiar names like Ryan Nyquist and Scotty Cranmer were in the finals, and I was watching alongside my brother (who has fallen out of the scene). Good times.
  • Patrick Casey did flair whip in such a small space. It was shocking.
  • Brett “Banana Sandwich” Banasiewicz (actually his nickname is “Mad Dog”) had some HUGE tricks, like a triple whip and a 900, but he didn’t even medal. That’s how stiff the competition is and how important picking the right lines is.
  • Scotty was a great example of just having it all: technical tricks, use of the entire course, and smooth riding. XG18 Day3-1, From X Games Tumblr Photo from official X Game Tumblr
  • I panicked for a minute when I saw the Vert results on Twitter because I thought it would be broadcast live on TV. Who knew that the X Games could have spoilers?
  • Dennis McCoy is the only BMXer among the four athletes who have competed in all 18 X Games.
  • Jamie Bestwick was the first rider to break 40 points in the finals, and there was no stopping him after that.
  • Steve McCann had great amplitude but took a hard crash in one of the early runs.
  • All the guys rode well, but Jamie just has much more variation. It also helped that he didn’t have set-up airs (though I noticed that many more riders are now packing in the tricks).
  • Vince Byron made tailwhips look easy. He also attempted a decade air.
  • Both Steve McCann and Simon Tabron opted out their last runs probably due to the pain they were feeling from the crashes. Best save your body when you know that unless you’re at 100%, you’re probably not going to beat Jamie.

Motocross thoughts

  • Ashley Fiolek was absent from Women’s Moto-X Racing due to concerns about concussion effects. She hit her seven times this past year, the latest being three weeks ago (where she didn’t even remember finishing).
  • Vicki Golden got the holeshot, and that was it. By the end of the race, she led by 7 seconds.
  • They should have Vicki in Best Whip next year.
    xgamesday3-3, Photo by Brown Dog Wilson.  From viceversamx.com Photo by Brown Dog Wilson (viceversamx.com)
  • The camera angle for Speed and Style sucked for showing tricks over the big jump.
  • Robbie Maddison had a bad crash over the whoops in practice. ESPN first reported that he broke his tibia and fibia, but apparently that was a prior injury that confused the hospital staff. He did suffer from a collapsed lung and lacerations on his leg.
  • Matt Buyten was apparently “pleasantly surprised” at not being sore from the previous night’s Step-Up marathon.
  • This was Carey Hart’s X Games swan song. He put up a really good fight against Edgar Torrenteras in the quarterfinals.
  • It looked really scary whenever riders were going bar-to-bar up the ramp, especially when they were both planning to flip. One slight bobble and it would be ugly.
  • ET didn’t have enough speeding going into a backflip and crashed hard. He was lucky to have gotten the bike all the way around, but it was a rough landing. He was carried out on the stretcher while throwing the horns.
  • The finals was between Nate Adams and Mike Mason. Both looked incredibly comfortable with course, and their jerseys were similar in color so “yellow” and “black” was a very good way to distinguish them from afar.
  • Mase’s arenacross background definitely helped him win. He was the smoothest on the whoops the entire night.
  • So many motocross injuries seem to have happened these past couple of days. Get well soon to all the riders!

Skateboard thoughts

  • Park started off slow, but everyone really brought out the big tricks in the finals.
  • It was cool seeing vets Andy MacDonald and Rune Glifberg in the finals. I tend to forget that they are park skaters too.
  • Kevin Kowalski saved himself from a fall (they can only have two before the run is over) with a nice revert.
  • Pedro Barros lost his hat doing a trick and then came back around to grab it in the middle of his run. Talk about cool under pressure.
  • It was a big battle for first between Pedro, Rune, and Ben Hatchell.
  • Ben put up a really good fight. His tech tricks got him the highest scoring run.
  • Three of the four X Games super vets (that’s what I’m calling the guys who have been in all 18 comps) were competing in Vert: Andy MacDonald, Bob Burnquist, and Rune Glifberg.
  • Rob Lorifice and Adam Taylor looked sunburned. Wonder if they forgot their sunscreen during Big Air.
  • Body varial = body doing a 540 + board doing a 360.
  • There appeared to be some strategic skating during the heats, as competitors refrained from throwing their biggest tricks (according to Tony Hawk, it might get scored lower later).
  • Skateboard Vert had the most pottymouths. The TV would go silent for a couple seconds around the times guys who bail from a trick. I finally put two-and-two together when Sandro Dias had an “oops” expression on his face after saying something.
  • Pierre-Luc Gagnon trains for skateboarding by boxing.
  • 12-year-old Tom Schaar brought back memories of a young Shaun White. Even though they were low, his 900s were so smooth. Can’t wait to see more from him.
  • Last year it was Shaun versus PLG. This year, it was Bucky Lasek versus PLG.
  • Apparently Andy barely makes 720s when he’s practicing with Tony, but he always stomps them in contests. That sounds like good luck or efficient skating.
  • Both Bucky and PLG scored a 91, but Bucky had to work to break the tie since PLG had the higher average of five runs (normally they average three).
    XG18 Day3-3, From X Games Tumblr Photo from official X Game Tumblr
  • Double grab are good in FMX due to difficulty. In skateboarding, it often means you’re desperate to not fall.
  • PLG fell on his last run so that gave Bucky a chance to take the gold away. It looked like he was about to with the way he barely stayed on the board (working some Bob Burnquist magic). It was close but not enough.

Congratulations to Scotty Cranmer (BMX Park), Ryan Decenzo (Game of SK8) Pedro Barros (Skateboard Park), Jamie Bestwick (BMX Vert), Vicki Golden (Women’s Moto-X Racing), Mike Mason (Moto-X Speed and Style), and Pierre-Luc Gagnon (Skateboard Vert) on their victories!

Prediction Status: 6/12
Quote of the Day: Sal Masekela – “Why do I keep saying 500?”
Tony Hawk – “Well, he didn’t make it all the way around so it’s a 500.”
Trick of the Day: Scotty Cranmer’s double tailwhip backflip
Inspiration of the Day: Jono Schwan – At 15, he already has his own charity, and he’s helping raise money for the people who lost their homes in the Colorado Springs fires.
Question of the Day: What is your favorite Carey Hart X Games moment?