Sunday in Shanghai is pretty much like every other day of the week here. The streets are mobbed and the sidewalks are hectic, but there's always enough time to grab a nap while your moped is parked on the corner of an intersection. In X Games terms, Sunday meant finals in Skate Vert, BMX Mini Mega and Aggressive Inline Street, and all three disciplines delivered. First up, Skate Vert.
Skate Vert Finals
Wow. That's the only way to start off this write-up about the Skate Vert contest this morning. I have seen a lot of contests in my life, but the consistency and the sheer amplitude the athletes were getting on the ramp today was incredible.
Hands down, the coolest trick was the Gnar Jar by Sandro Dias. He would do a 540 and intentionally hit his tail on the way in. He landed a few, but each time they were at the buzzer, so while spinning a huge 540, the time buzzer would go off. And, being such a monster, Sandro would still land it. It didn't seem to bother him at all. Sandro ended up in second place, and rightfully so. Tech beat out gnar today, and Pierre Luc Gagnon took home a second X Games Asia gold (his first being in Mini Mega). With flips here and twists there, you could pretty much say that PLG is a tornado. And Bill Paxton would agree. He did lines with nollie heel indy 360s and switch heelflip frontside air 360s. He hit every single wall with hardly any setup airs. And even with two X Games Asia golds in the bag, PLG remains one of the friendliest and most humble guys on the vert ramp. Taking bronze was another familiar face to the X Games crowd: Airwalk's Andy Macdonald, who made a beeline for SMP as soon as the post-comp interviews were wrapped up.
BMX Mini Mega Finals
New to X Games, Mini Mega is a scaled down version of Big Air. Not small by any means, but still "small" enough for non-vert riders to have a go and see what happens. After days of practice, most of the guys had adjusted to the ramp, and the finals were absolutely nuts.
Grabbing the first-place spot was Australia's Vince Byron, who did every trick imaginable including 720s over the gap, 540 tailwhips on the big quarter and a smooth 360 tailwhip to barspin over the gap. In second was a familiar face in Big Air, U.S. rider Kevin Robinson. Robinson spun some of the biggest 540s of the comp, along with an opposite no-handed flair, no-handed backflips, and a monster truck ride off of the flat bottom, mistakenly riding straight through a piece of 1/4" plywood but escaping unscathed. In third place, with his second bronze medal of the weekend, was U.S. rider Austin Coleman, who pulled 360 flips over the gap and double downside whips on the quarter, in between some of the gnarliest bails of the weekend. "I'm just glad I made it out alive after falling out of the sky five times," said Coleman. "My bike is barely alive."
In fourth place was Morgan Wade, who landed a no-handed flip to double tailwhip. And in the fifth-place spot was Anthony Napolitan, who landed the first turndown to tailwhip backflip in competition. You really gotta hand it to Napolitan. He may not care about making the podium too much, but he definitely cares about getting new tricks done, and at the end of the day, that's pretty awesome.
Aggressive Inline Street Finals
The final day of the 2010 Kia Asian X Games finished up with a heated (literally) Aggressive Inline Street comp. To say that the finals was an international gathering of the world's top skaters would be understatement, with competitors from Thailand, Japan, France, Russia and the U.S. all representing. On top at the when it was all said and done was U.S. pro Brian Aragorn, followed by fellow U.S. skater Jeff Fellow in second place, and Thailand's Jeerasak Taasorn in third place spot.
Immediately following the aggressive inline finals, the winners were announced, and the weekend had officially come to a close. An hour later, the 2010 Kia Asian X Games were history, but the throngs of pros from BMX, skate and aggressive inline on hand for the event simply made their way to the next stop: Shanghai's SMP Skatepark. Sessions lasted into the night, and at the end of the day, there wasn't an unhappy face in the skatepark. Thank you, Shanghai. It's been great.