Lasting Impressions from X Games 16

After four days and 26 different competitions X Games 16 is in the books. Downtown Los Angeles was filled once again with thousands of dirt loving, shower hating, beer guzzling, black-sock wearing boys in tight pants and girls in skimpy clothes screaming for Ryan Sheckler.

With our ears still ringing, memories of this year’s festivities are still fresh. Here’s what X fans will be talking about until X Games 17.

1. Where did all the big boys go? More X Games superstars pulled out of competition this year than any other we can remember. The most notable exit was Travis Pastrana, one of the most decorated X Games athletes, who pulled out of Moto X Best Trick due to concern he was not close enough to landing his most difficult trick yet. He joined 3-time defending champ Kyle Loza who also withdrew right before he was scheduled to defend his gold in the same category. Travis then had to withdraw from his favorite event, the Super Rally, due to last-minute mechanical issues with his car. Meanwhile Skateboard Big Air Legend Danny Way pulled out of the competition shortly before the games began. Then, after coming up short in the Vert ramp, X Games golden boy Shaun White mysteriously pulled out of Vert Best Trick. With the A-listers missing from many of the headline acts, something just didn’t feel right.

2. Maybe they can finish next time? The most anticipated event of X Games 16 had to be the newest, the Super Rally. With four highly-torqued mini-machines zipping through the LA Coliseum fishtailing through turns and jumping over the massive gap things were bound to get interesting. And when the man who waves the checkered flag didn’t get the memo that they added an extra lap to the final things really did. After he waved the flag one lap too early the finalists threw an improvisational demolition derby. For what it’s worth, they handed Tanner Foust the gold. He used his experience of racing overseas to win both rally disciplines.

3. Hey, I’m over here Pierre Luc Gagnon managed to 3-peat in Skateboard Vert while the rest of the cameras were following Shaun White, the X Games’ biggest draw. To be clear, Shaun White delivered a brilliant performance in the halfpipe, unleashing a new heel-flip body-verial frontside 540. But while the cameras stayed glued to White fist pumping on the deck, PLG was busy topping White’s ride by linking a 720 with a kickflip body-verial 540. PLG’s gold medal did little to help him emerge from White’s shadow. The TV headline was that Shaun White lost. And apparently the loss bothered White. He didn’t show up for the Best Trick final ten minutes later.

4. Anyone got a hair dryer?: While the Big Air athletes originally thought it was cool having their mega-ramp outside at the Coliseum, the added danger wasn’t revealed until competition began. BMX riders were having major issues with condensation, repeatedly sliding out on their landings and going down hard. Things got so bad they were forced to cancel practice. The Skateboard Big Air Rail Jam was delayed and almost stopped for the same reason. Rumor has it the athletes came together and protested, demanding that next year the ramp be inside or they won’t compete.

5. The X factor and the envelope: Paris Rosen’s epic failure in the Moto X Best Trick was arguably the scariest moment of the games. Rosen got stuck dangling upside down while attempting a front flip. He soared across the entire length of the Staple’s Center and landed on his back, hushing the crowd. Ultimately, this was the Jake Brown moment of X Games 16. We’re sure to see the replay for years.


Photos Courtesy of Getty Images