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X Games is Back

 By Shannon Stern


Summer X Games has arrived! This year, the global expansion of X Games has taken effect as well as the combination of Street League into the former Men’s Skateboard Street competition. With the sun shining bright in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, Summer X Games got started.


First up was the SLS Select Series. This allowed those not already in Street League to compete for a chance to skate with the Street League Pros in the Prelims. While Greg Lutzka qualified first into the SLS Select Series Finals, it was Manny Santiago who got first, moving on to Friday’s Street League Skateboarding Prelims. History was also made on Thursday during the Skateboard Big Air competition. Jake Brown landed the first Ollie 720 in a Big Air competition. Congratulations, Jake! With that, Brown earned a Bronze medal in the event, with Elliot Sloan earning Silver, and Brazil’s own Bob Burnquist taking home the Gold. Enduro X also had a Men’s competition, in which Taddy Blazusiak took home the Gold, and a Women’s event, in which Laia Sanz took home the Gold.


The Street League Skateboarding Prelims brought in twenty one skaters that, by the end of the competition, would be narrowed down to the top eight. The competition was stacked with the best of the best street skateboarders. Although eight skaters moved on to Saturday’s Finals, many familiar faces did not. Santiago, the previous day’s winner, did not qualify. Others noticeably absent from the final eight included Chris Cole, Ryan Sheckler, and Paul Rodriguez. Of the eight that made the finals, Nyjah Huston qualified first. Moving over to BMX Big Air, Zack Warden took top honors, winning Gold. Chad Kagy won the Silver medal and Morgan Wade won the Bronze medal. The day finished with two Moto X events. In Moto X Best Whip, fan favorite Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg proved to be superior, taking home the Gold medal. Edgar Torronteras took home the Silver medal and Josh Hansen took home the Bronze medal. In Moto X Step Up, Bryce Hudson got first place, Ronnie Renner in second, and Libor Podmol in third. They took home the Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals respectively.


Saturday was another epic day of competition. Kyle Baldock started out his domination day by winning Gold in BMX Park. Pat Casey took home the Silver medal and Dennis Enarson returned to the X Games this year after last year’s injury, taking home the Bronze. Sadly, Enarson sustained injuries during the competition that forced him out of Saturday night’s BMX Dirt competition. Hopefully, Enarson will recover quickly and be back to his BMX super skills! Skateboard Vert also proved to be one for the books. Bucky Lasek took home the Gold, making this his fifth X Games Gold medal, his first in a decade. Sando Dias placed second, winning a Silver medal, and Marcelo Bastos placed third, winning a Bronze medal.


Nyjah Huston continued his Street League domination, winning Saturday’s Finals. Huston won his second X Games Gold medal. Sean Malto came in second, winning the Silver medal, and Torey Pudwill came in third, winning the Bronze medal. Also continuing their domination was BMX Vert’s Jamie Bestwick. Bestwick won Gold again in this event, making it seven Gold medals in a row! This broke the record for consecutive Gold medals at X Games. Congratulations, Jamie! Also medaling in this event were Coco Zurita with Silver and Steven McCann with Bronze.


After a seven year hiatus, BMX Dirt made its return to the X Games. After Enarson was forced out of the competition due to injury, Chris Doyle took his place. Doyle ended up placing eighth in the event. Baldock made history, winning his second Gold medal of the day. This marked the first time a BMX rider won two Gold medals in the same X Games competition since 2006. Congrats, Kyle! Rounding out the top three were Brandon Dosch with the Silver medal and Ryan Nyquist with the Bronze medal. Moto X Speed and Style capped off Saturday’s competitions. Lance Coury, an X Games rookie, won the event, taking home Gold. Andre Villa placed second, winning the Silver medal, and Mat Rebeaud placed third, winning the Bronze medal.


With X Games Foz coming to a close, it was the final chance for Brazilian fans to witness history. In Women’s Skateboard Street, Brazil’s own Leticia Bufoni took home the Gold, her first X Games Gold to be exact! Lacey Baker took home the Silver and Jessica Florencio took home the Bronze. Wrapping up the weekend’s skateboarding was Men’s Skateboard Park. Another Brazilian, Pedro Barros, took home Gold. Rune Glifberg took home the Silver and Ben Hatchell took home the Bronze. Next up was Ford RallyCross. After four qualifying rounds and last chance qualifiers, Scott Speed placed first overall. Toomas Heikkinen finished in second place and Patrik Sandell finished in third, taking home the Gold, Silver, and Bronze respectively. Last, but not least, was the Moto X Freestyle event. Taka Higashino took home top prize, an X Games Gold medal, with Rob Adelberg taking home the Silver medal, and Wes Agee taking home the Bronze medal.


In less than a month, these athletes will be back at it again. X Games Barcelona starts May 16th and runs through May 19th. Looking forward to catching all the X Games action on ESPN!