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Eighteen Years and Still Going Strong   

By: Shannon Stern


The 18th Summer X Games were held in Los Angeles June 28 through July 1, bringing all of action sports together. This year’s festivities did not disappoint, as new winners were crowned, favorites returned to the action, and new records were set.

Returning to defend his gold medal in BMX Street, Garrett Reynolds had to face tough competition. X Games rookie Chad Kerley laid down an amazing final run, giving Reynolds a run for his money. With it all on the line, Reynolds came out with something to prove. In the end, it was Reynolds who ended up victorious, winning the gold medal, while Kerley and Dakota Roche won the silver and bronze medals respectively.

A new record was set in Moto X Step Up many times over this year. As the bar continued to be raised, the fans energy and amazement grew as well. It all came down to Ronnie Renner and Matt Buyten vying for the gold medal, with Buyten looking to snag the gold as he had done last year. Renner cleared the record-breaking 47 foot jump on his first try. With all of the STAPLES Center and the world watching, Buyten revved up his bike, ready to go. The crowd watched in bated breath as Buyten failed to clear the jump on both his first and second tries, making Renner this year’s gold medalist. Buyten walked away with the silver, clearing 46 feet, and Brian Deegan with the bronze medal, clearing 39 feet.

Records were set again as BMX Vert got under way. Jamie Bestwick was able to defend his title as gold medalist, making a six-peat run at victory this year. Vince Byron edged out Simon Tabron to win the silver medal, making Tabron the bronze medalist for this event.

An era came to an end as Moto X rider Carey Hart ended his racing career this year. Although Hart did not make it into the semifinals of the Moto X Speed and Style event, Hart went out with his head held high. The crowd rose to their feet, cheering in his honor, as Hart waved to the crowd and rode back into the pit for the final time. In the end, it was Mike Mason who won gold in this event, with Nate Adams winning silver.

Would Nyjah Huston continue his winning streak at X Games this year? Would Ryan Sheckler come back and regain the title that was once his? Did someone else have it in them to win the gold? These were the questions everyone was asking up until, and during, the Men’s Skateboard Street event. Sheckler qualified first going into the finals, showing the rest of the competition that he was back and in it to win in. With a stacked final, including Manny Santiago, Ryan Decenzo, Chaz Ortiz, Huston, and Paul Rodriquez Jr., Sheckler had tough competition in front of him. It wasn’t until the last second that Sheckler pulled out the flawless run that he wanted. The crowd waited on their feet as the results came in. Rodriguez Jr. won the gold medal, Sheckler with the silver, and Huston with the bronze.

Travis Pastrana was back at X Games this year, not to compete in Moto X, but to solely focus on RallyCross. Without injuries this year, Pastrana was ready to prove he was in it to win in. Unfortunately, during his qualifying heat, Pastrana’s car was involved in a crash, disqualifying him from the rest of the competition. Ultimately, Sebastien Loeb came out victorious, winning the gold medal, with Ken Block winning the silver and Brian Deegan with the bronze. It’s safe to say Pastrana will be back with a vengeance next year.

Besides the action sports athletes watching and cheering each other on this weekend, celebrities joined in on the action both in person and via social media. Kobe Bryant took in the Skateboard Big Air festivities, David Beckham came out to see some of the X Games action, Lil Wayne provided commentary to the Men’s Skateboard Street competition, and various celebrities, athletes, and fellow X Games competitions tweeted in all weekend.

With death-defying new heights reached, new records set, new gold medalists crowned, and an X Games global expansion starting next year, it’s safe to say X Games is here to stay for many years to come.