Austin, TX – It’s a wrap folks! X Games came into the Circuit of the Americas for the second year in a row to give us four glorious days of adrenaline, sweat, tears and excitement. This event truly delivered on the hype and brought us one of the coolest events this city has seen in years. The music and the sporting events were outstanding, the athletes were world class and the tricks performed were almost gravity defying.
Total attendance over the four days, was over 135,000. Saturday proved to be the most pack day filled with fans from the area as well as different parts of the world. It’s amazing to see how sports bring us together regardless of age, demographic or race. Certainly cheering for your favorite athletes is a universal skill that we all possess and resonates in every language.
The Moto X Step Up event that took place downtown Austin Thursday night was one of a kind and even a bit surreal. The riders executed for tremendous jumps with surgical accuracy. In the end, it was the 2 time medalist Ronnie Renner that took the gold with an impressive jump over 34 feet. Massimo Bianconcini, Libor Podmol and Bryce Hudson had a three-way tie for silver. It was very enjoyable for adrenaline seekers to see the magnitude of the event that ESPN and X Games was able to pull off in the middle of one of Austin’s busiest streets.
The crowd favorites at the Circuit of the Americas were the Enduro Moto X, the BMX Park, and the Big Air competition. What an incredible combination of skill, timing and precision! 43 year old Mike Brown took the gold in Men’s Moto X Enduro after a spectacular pass on Cody Webb in the rock corner. He never looked back as he dominated the rest of the course, finishing well ahead of his competition. It was clear that several other competitors struggled on the rocks and around some of the tight corners, the 3 gold medalist Brown really put a clinic out on the course making the obstacles look relatively easy. On the women’s side, Laia Sanz took the gold with an impressive performance on the rocks as well as the jumps.
The 7 athletes at the Toyota BMX Park heat up the days with incredible tricks and spins. It was an impressive battle to witness as Daniel Sandoval, Dennis Enarson, Scotty Cranmer and the rest of the athletes took the course. Seven time X Games medalist Dennis Enarson was the clear crowd favorite. He certainly put together an impressive set of technical tricks and flips. In the end, it was Daniel Sandoval who was able to overtake Enarson and win the gold after a prolific set of flips on the park course.
The most popular fan event was the big air competition. Fans poured in to see athletes attempt death defying stunts on skateboards and BMX bikes. The athletes displayed their skill, style and creativity while defying the intense heat and windy conditions. It’s safe to say that the tricks were jaw dropping and so were the crashes. Bob Burnquist took the lead early at the Skateboard Big Air and did not lift his foot off the pedal. He landed an awesome 540 spin on the middle jump and a huge 720 on the back ramp. Tom Schaar also delivered an impressive set of tricks but was not able to overtake Burnquist. Defending gold medalist Colton Satterfield earned his second gold medal in GoPro BMX Big Air with a huge double flair trick. Texas native Morgan Wade won silver with a really cool backflip.
Anoher favorite event was the Moto X QuarterPipe and Best Whip competition. What an amazing display of style and skill with the motorcycle. The backflips and whips were incredible and borderline gravity defying. Thomas Pages won gold in the X Games debut of Toyota Moto X QuarterPipe by putting down a huge bike flip on his second run. Levi Sherwood took the silver medal in an impressive fashion with with his signature eggroll trick.
The musical highlight of the weekend certainly had to be Metallica. They performed for over two hours in front of a packed 25,000+ audience and fittingly started with their song “Fuel”. They allowed a small group of athletes and VIPs to watch the show from the stage. They kept everyone rocking to all of their great songs like “Sanitarium, Master of Puppets and a Enter Sandman”. At one point, frontman James Hetfield pointed out that he was thankful that so many X Games athletes use Metallica’s music to take their tricks to the next level. He later stated that Metallica loves X Games and felt thankful to be invited to play at the event.
ESPN & X Games did a fantastic job in Austin 2015 at Circuit of The Americas. The entire event was well organized and conducted. The level of competition was incredible and the music was a very enjoyable addition to an already amazing event. Until next year!
Article by: Diego Donamaria
Photos by: Steve Snow and Diego Donamaria