Jeff Z’s 5 Best/Worst Aspects of the X Games Park Comp

Supposedly there were 110 million viewers tuned into the X Games worldwide, so I think anyone with a computer probably saw the X Games on the tube.However, after the slight distaste I developed for the X Games over the weekend, I really don’t feel like writing a story about who did what. Instead, here is a list of the five best and worst things I saw all weekend followed by the results.

Everything that Morgan Wade and I tried to shoot resulted in him either breaking his bike or in the case of this wall-toe jam--getting a flat tire immediately after.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

Best:

1. Gary Young, for numerous reasons. The fact that he’s a Dirt Bro. and he placed second, he rode super-fast and tricked every single obstacle, and he would’ve ridden the same way even if he wasn’t in a contest.

2. Girls--need I say more? It was hot and sunny so they were hardly dressed.

Dave Mirra flipwhipped the spine, 360whipped the box, and pulled a really high double whip out of a quarter --how do you like them apples?

3. Ryan Nyquist’s 540-truckdriver straight into a 720 over the box. Ryan was already spinning the 720 when everyone was still grasping the 540-truck. He also did a suicide-540 after his victory run.

4. Apparently the riders had a choice if they wanted to be filmed by the army of cameras surrounding the course, or by a guy on rollerblades. It was kind of funny seeing the guy roll around the course with a Sony VX2000 with a death lens trying to keep up with a speeding Gary Young.

Alistair Whitton was riding in the XGames fresh off a broken foot injury (same foot in a matter of months) so he wasn’t in full form, but Alistair riding in less than full form is still a sight to behold. Lookback from the recessed quarter into the wedge.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

5. The contest format was finals-only so each rider only had two runs--which meant I could get out of the sun faster.

Worst:

1. Security: Ironically, I would’ve had an easier time shooting photos in downtown Los Angeles on a weekday with a pack of riders ten deep than I did at the X Games--even with my press credentials. For those of you who are unaware, shooting photos or video at the X Games is a nightmare because during the finals (when all the serious shit goes down) the media get shuffled into the “media corral,” which is guaranteed to be the area with the worst angles possible. This is why Props video magazine and TransWorld Skateboarding don’t cover it.

Ryan Nyquist knew he had the Park course gold medal already around his neck by the time his second run came around so he celebrated with a victory run, which included a straight turndown over the box and he finished it off with this suicide 540.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

2. Sunburn: The general rule of thumb when shooting outdoors on a sunny day is to try and keep the sun behind you. The result is nicely lit photos and a leatherneck.

3. Horrible angles: I think I explained this one thoroughly in number one.

4. Only two runs--even though the sun was grilling me. On the flip side, I would have liked to wwatch everyone ride some more.

Bruce Crisman had a good mix of true street rider type lines and some stock comp tricks like truckdrivers to X-up over the spine and flips over the wedge hip. Here’s one of his street lines with a bunnyhop barspin into the roll in.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

5. I figured that some riders might’ve had a few new moves up their sleeves, but to my dismay, there really weren’t any new tricks unveiled and no outrageous transfers or even a “trick of the contest.” Well, except for Morgan Wade’s tailwhip to the wall.

I was lucky enough to get a photo of the filmer on rollerblades during the flatland practice.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

X GAMES IX BIKE STUNT PARK
Final Results from STAPLES Center on August 16, 2003

1. Ryan Nyquist
2. Gary Young
3. Dave Mirra
4. Chad Kagy
5. Van Homan
6. Rob Darden
7. Morgan Wade
8. Bruce Crisman
9. Alistair Whitton
10. Brian Foster