Posts Tagged ‘Sport Science’

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.

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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.

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
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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.