Injuries Won’t Keep Them Out of Games
One by one, the featured athletes for the 11th X Games were introduced on the sun-splashed balcony overlooking the Staples Center parking lot.
Danny Way, whose 200-foot-tall illustration served as a backdrop on a building that fronted the Los Angeles skyline, limped through the crowd of reporters and photographers with cane in hand Wednesday, his right ankle supported by a brace and a thick wrap of athletic bandage.
Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, the 15-year-old skateboard phenom from Cardiff who is entered in the women’s skateboard vert competition, took her seat with a pink elbow-length cast protecting her left arm.
Both said they have no plans to back out of their respective events over the next four days.
Way said he expected to be ready for the big air competition Sunday outside Staples Center. The 31-year-old from San Diego took a nasty spill in his only practice jump before clearing a 61-foot gap over the Great Wall of China last month, becoming the first to accomplish that feat without motorized assistance.
He then tweaked the ankle Tuesday trying out the mega ramp that sits in the Staples Center parking lot, beneath the giant drawings of Way, surfer Rob Machado and motocross racer Jeremy McGrath.
Asked if he’d be ready to defend his title, Way didn’t hesitate.
“I’ll be out there,” said Way, who had a similar injury when he set a world record for the longest and highest skateboard jump at last year’s X Games.
Adams Hawkins also said she was ready to perform for the expected triple-digit crowds over the next four days. She broke her arm during a photo shoot in early July and also split open the back of her head, said her mother, Lynn.
And Brian Deegan of Temecula, who lost a kidney three months ago during a crash while filming a TV show for MTV, said he expected to compete in one of the moto X events this week.
Such is the attitude of most extreme-sports athletes. If they can still mount their skateboard, BMX bike or motorcycle, they’re usually willing to compete.
In the moto X freestyle competition last year, Travis Pastrana crash-landed after trying a 360-degree revolution on his motorcycle during the preliminaries. He suffered a mild concussion and badly scraped the side of his face, but resumed the competition and eventually finished second.
Pastrana is not expected to try the much-anticipated double back flip in the freestyle event this year, but he’s expected to have some new tricks up his sleave.
And a freshly stocked first-aid kit.
X Games facts
* Where: Staples Center, Home Depot Center, Marine Stadium (Long Beach).
* TV: ESPN.
* Today’s schedule: AT STAPLES CENTER -- 10 a.m., BMX freestyle vert, skateboard street men and big air practice; 1 p.m., skateboard vert men’s practice; 1:30 p.m., skateboard street men’s final; 3 p.m., moto X best trick practice; 4 p.m., BMX freestyle vert practice; 5:30 p.m., BMX freestyle vert final; 7 p.m., moto X best trick final; AT HOME DEPOT CENTER -- 10 a.m., moto X freestyle practice; 11 a.m., BMX freestyle park practice; 1 p.m., BMX freestyle dirt practice.