X Games 14
Another round of X Games completed, with more snapshots of athletes flying through the air, heels pointed to the sky.
If only Danny Way had planned it that way.
Way’s brush with catastrophe somewhat paled in comparison with the 45-foot fall Jake Brown survived during last year’s skateboard big-air competition, but Way undoubtedly stamped his image on the X Games, clipping his feet on the lip of the quarterpipe in Thursday’s contest at Staples Center and catapulting 27 feet down the face.
Way escaped with a few bumps and bruises, even earning a silver medal after limping back to the top of the drop-in ramp and executing his planned run.
That was the week’s most memorable near-death-turned-success story, but there were others who held their breath, then delivered lasting impressions.
Upside down, of course.
Battle of the BMXers
Chad Kagy and Dave Mirra watched what happened to Way the night before. That didn’t stop them from pulling out all the stops in the BMX big-air competition Friday night.
They traded tricks, swapped leads and shared the spotlight on Day 2 of the X Games, unleashing and completing never-been-seen maneuvers on thin strips of rubber.
Somebody had to win, and that turned out to be Kagy, who landed a back flip tailwhip over the 70-foot gap, followed by a tailwhip flair 17 feet above the quarterpipe.
“I ate it quite a bit in practice, but I know how to crash,” said Kagy, who broke his collarbone while practicing for the event last year. “I survived, and pulled out a solid run when I needed it.”
Was it a bird or a plane?
No, that was Jeremy Lusk, gritting his teeth and soaring into the air in the Moto X Freestyle competition Saturday night at the Home Depot Center, where he successfully landed a back flip superman seat grab, helping him earn his first X Games gold medal.
Lusk acknowledged afterward that he had second thoughts about adding the trick to his 90-second routine, remembering how hard he crashed when he attempted the same maneuver last year.
“I was scared to do it,” he said.
“At the same time, I was, ‘This is X Games, this is where you’re not supposed to care.’ ”
Still working out the kinks
The front flip might just be the next big trick of the X Games. Jim DeChamp tried it and failed; Andrew Comrie-Picard didn’t attempt the maneuver but almost succeeded.
DeChamp bailed out in midair during the Moto X Best Trick competition Thursday night and landed flat on his back, fracturing a vertebra in the process. The injury knocked him out of Sunday’s rally car race, won by his partner, Travis Pastrana, and his replacement, co-driver Carolyn Bosley.
Comrie-Picard and co-driver Marc Goldfarb made it to the starting line in the rally car race, but then clipped the car’s back wheels on the leading edge of a landing ramp and cartwheeled in the middle of the Home Depot Center.
They finished a close second to Way for the gnarliest moment of the week.
It was all backward
In the same event that DeChamp was laid out, Kyle Loza and Scott Murray survived their gravity test.
Loza broke out his eagerly awaited Electric Death in the Moto X Best Trick competition, performing a back flip while his motorcycle flew upright through Staples Center.
“You can’t really practice it; it’s all or nothing,” said Loza, a 22-year-old from Trabuco Canyon.
Murray tried a double back flip for the second consecutive year, landing upright but failing to control the bike after impact.
Keeping it on two wheels
Of course, not every X Games athlete felt the need to be inverted.
Two of the senior citizens of the X Games, Jeremy McGrath and Jeff Ward, showed they can still generate plenty of excitement with their tires stuck to the ground.
McGrath, 36, held off a pair of young racers, Josh Grant and Josh Hill, to finish second in the Moto X Racing final Saturday afternoon at Home Depot Center.
Ward, 47, took advantage of a first-turn spill that took out nearly half the field in the Moto X Supermoto event and rode away with his second gold medal in the last three years.
McGrath was the iron man of the Moto X Racing, racing 23 consecutive laps after crashing in his opening heat, falling into the last-chance qualifier and then proceeding to the main event.
That’s when his age began to catch up with him.
“About the halfway point, I was, ‘Oh man, it’s only halfway,’ ” he said.
And finally. . . .
If you didn’t get enough thrills, spills and chills, the X Games is officially going international later this year.
ESPN and Dubai Event Management Corp. announced a five-year partnership to stage the Dubai X Games World Cup, a three-day event that will make its debut in December and offer $2.5 million in prize money.
Dubai had already been the site of X Games demonstrations in BMX, skateboard and Moto X, but this event is expected to offer a full menu of extreme-sports events with one addition, a Dubai favorite, ATV Enduro racing.