Let The X Games Begin!
by Jerri Starbuck
It’s here and it’s sunny! In an amazing weather turn, the historic floods have subsided and sunny Austin skies with 90 degree temps have returned and we’re loving it. The tracks are all done, put up in under a week. The new layouts look great and the practice sessions are underway. After many years in LA, the Games consensus from athletes to VP’s seems to be huge thumbs up for Austin. A city they say is matched in personality to that of the Games, and has huge fan support here.
This year has more new events plus legends in auto racing (Nascar and Formula One) competing. The new disciplines of Moto X Quarterpipe and Skateboard and BMX Big Air Doubles plus Flat Track Racing will premier in Austin. X Games will kick off again this year with Moto X Step Up in front of the capitol building in downtown Austin. In addition, Alamo Drafthouse is hosting X Games Austin Kick-off Bash Presented by Dos Equis Featuring a Screening of 30 for 30 Documentary Angry Sky – a red carpet event tonight with athletes, movie, and reception benefiting the V Foundation (Jimmy Valvano, the legendary NC State Coach) for Cancer research with the motto “Don’t ever give up” and the Central Texas Red Cross for recent flood victims- sure to be a great night!
Today’s big press conference at Circuit of the Americas (which also holds F1 and MotoGP) included past top medalists and ones to watch this year. It’s a fun mix of teenagers and midlife guys still at the top of their sports. Cool to see them all meet each other for the first time since they all come from different disciplines. There are several young athletes-14 year-old Alana Smith from Arizona was cool as a cucumber and Tom Schaar-another teen to watch and the first to land the 1080- a vertical ramp trick that Red Bull described as ‘the Holy Grail of skate tricks’ (he’s even on Wiki !) Watch the video here. These kids are fearless. Veteran nascar hall-of-famer Rusty Wallace makes a comeback from retirement to do Off-Road Truck Racing and says he’s always really missed driving and wondered why he quit and when ESPN asked, he said yes. Don’t miss last year’s BMX Park gold medalist Chase Hawk, an Austin native who practices at House Park. He’ll be returning this year for a chance at another gold. The panel also included Scott Speed (Manteca, California) – Rally Car Racing (with a name like Speed he’s surely one to watch), Curren Caples (Ventura, California) / Toyota Skateboard Park & Monster Energy Skateboard Street, Jamie Bestwick (State College, Pennsylvania) / BMX Vert – going for the first ever 10-peat- he says it’s’ time for new winners in his sport but he’d be happy to have it, Brian Deegan (Bellevue, Nebraska) / Rally Car Racing, Brad Baker (Eatonville, Washington) / Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing.
For music lovers- there’s actually a full music festival here too. There’s all types of music-something for everyone-plus there’s a new ‘Superstage’ outside the venue built for the massive crowds expected by the two headliners, and for Metallica especially who cater to mega shows. There’s still plenty great music at the Austin 360 Amphitheater all day long including great locals A. Sinclair and The Bright Light Social Hour. You can find the full music lineup here.
Check out the full Games schedule here. Now go get your game on!