Smell that? Sweat, blood and dirt swirling in exhaust and freshly popped popcorn… the aroma of danger. It can only mean one thing: the summer X Games are here. More than any other organized sporting event, the X Games embody progress. This year, like every year, riders and skaters will be pulling out tricks that have never been seen before in competition. This year, at Moto X Best Trick, BMX Big Air and Skateboarding Big Air, you’re certain to see something new. See below for the innovative tricks that won last year and the moves that could render them forever obsolete.
Last Year’s Best Moto X Trick: The Front Flip
Perhaps no X Games sport is progressing as rapidly as Moto X. Just ten years ago, going inverted on a motorcycle was considered next to impossible. Today, every rider needs a backflip in his arsenal to be taken seriously at the highest level of competition. The front flip, however, is still something of a holy grail. It has only been successfully completed at the X Games once – in 2011 by 19-year-old Aussie rider Jackson Strong. The trick, seen above, won Strong Moto X best trick. This year, like any year at the event, Strong and his Moto X competitors will have to improve upon what was once good enough for gold. Strong knows it, and he is rumored to be practicing a body varial variation of the front flip. We’ll soon find out if he can land it.
What Could Top It This Year: The 720
At least one of this year’s X games competitors plans to call this bold trick his own. Like the varial front flip, nobody has yet landed a 720 in competition. Should both stomp cleanly this weekend, not only will we witness history twice, but also a very tough choice for a panel of judges.
Last Year’s Best BMX Big Air Trick: Double Front Flip to Double Tailwhip
The 2009 summer X Games were host to the first ever double front flip landed in competition. Big Air is a two-part trick, however, and you better pull off two tricks if you want to come out on top. That’s hard to do after throwing yourself 40 mph head-over-handlebars (twice) over a 25-foot gap. How hard? Well, to illustrate the point, notice what happened to reigning Big Air Champ Chad Kagy last year. The double front flip is known to disorient its riders, making the quarterpipe a daunting and dizzying challenge. Last year, Steve McCann went 15’7″ over the coping, whipping his BMX tail twice in the sky following his double front flip. This year he and his competitors intend to go even bigger….
What Could Top It This Year: The Triple Tailwhip
In 1493, the bicycle was invented. Last year, BMX Big Air witnessed one of the most violent bloodbaths in the history of the MegaRamp. Then, in June 2012, Zack Warden landed the first ever MegaRamp triple tailwhip while practicing at Woodward West. Warden plans to bring the trick to the Big Air competition to this year’s X Games. The question remains whether or not he has the gap tricks in his bag to make the landmark quarterpipe trick count. Last year, Warden couldn’t land any of his backflip bike flips over the gap, but a year of practice could make all the difference.
Last Year’s Best Skateboarding Big Air Trick: Switch Frontside 540 to Lien-to-Frontside Grab 540
At the monstrous MegaRamp outside Staples Center last year, the winning Skateboarding Big Air run featured a fast and huge 540 over the gap and a 16’7″ 540 on the quarterpipe, complete with a stylish hand switch during the grab. This year, however, the competition is bound to get even more interesting.
What Could Top It This Year: The 900 or 1080
Last year, then 14-year-old Mitchie Brusco landed a 900 on the quarterpipe in the early rounds of the Big Air contest, becoming the first ever skater to land the trick in competition. He couldn’t pull it off when the big money was on the line, finishing in fifth place at the 2011 Games. This year, don’t be surprised to see the youngster pull it off and win it all… that is, if an even younger youngster doesn’t one-up him with an even gnarlier trick: the 1080, one of the toughest skateboarding tricks ever. In April, 12-year-old Tom Schaar completed 3 full rotations on the quarterpipe during Big Air at X Games Asia. It was the first time the trick had ever been pulled off in competition. If he can stomp it this year, Schaar will do more than win easily. He’ll open the gate on a whole new era of skateboarding.