Saturday, August 6, 2005 Updated: May 14, 11:57 AM ET BMX Freestyle Park: Mirra-cle Boy
By Todd Seligman EXPN.com
To call Saturday's BMX Park competition a wide-open affair would be the understatement of X Games 11. From Dave Mirra, the winningest athlete in X Games history, to Scotty Cranmer, the youngest rider in the field, all 10 guys were contenders for the gold medal. Each rider would take two runs, and the owners of the best three would rule the podium.
Allan Cooke opened the event by posting a solid first run that included a street-inspired wedge to icepick grind across the length of one of the several sub walls on the course. That set a standard that would rise throughout the afternoon.
Greenville native Josh Harrington nailed a no-footed double seatgrab to late barspin over the box. Josh also was the only rider to downside 50/50 grind the bowled corner of the course.
Gary Young took a speed line through the curved wallride, transferring to the hip 10 feet past the wall. He then attempted a front-flip roll-in off of a two-foot ledge into a wedge ramp. Given just a little more speed, he could have pulled it.
Still in Round One, Cranmer cranked full speed at the most unusual obstacle on the course, a seven-foot step-up jump that had a transition for the face, doing a huge turndown-frontflip up onto the deck. And he didn't stop there. He also threw a double-whip, but went down on a 540.
Before dropping in for his first run, Mirra had not even taken a full run on the course. He was taking it easy after suffering a concussion in Vert on Thursday. "I had no run planned," said Mirra. "I hadn't even looked at the course until a half hour before the contest." He dropped in and delivered a stunner. His 24-karat-gold bike gleaming in the California sun, Mirra demonstrated precisely why he is the reigning Park champ. Big transfers and creative lines like his 360 tailwhip backward over the box jump straight into standard incredible Mirra moves like a big flair on the quarter to a double tailwhip on the box to a flipwhip over the spine sealed him a score of 89.33 points.
Has he lost his mind? Can he see or is he blinded by the reflection from his bike? Mirra flipwhips over the spine.
Heading into Round Two, Mirra's lead looked unbeatableuntil Cranmer dropped in. He put together an amazing run, one that included the big step-up turndown front-flip, a cross-footed framestand 360-tailwhip over the spine and a flair transfer to the transition face of the step-up. Thanks to the fresh tricks and high energy, it seemed obvious Cranmer had just unseated Mirra. But the judges had a different opinion: Cranmer's score of 89 points put him in the silver-medal spot.
The 2004 silver-medalist, Ryan Nyquist, has struggled this season, so he dropped in for his second run without a plan. "From 30 seconds on, I just made it up," he said. Ryan pulled the barspin backflip transfer over the sub-tranny, straight into a bomb-drop back over the sub-tranny into the course to a 720 over the spine. "Then I looked around and it was a straight line for the sub-tranny so I just put my head down and went at it with no-idea what I was going to do." What Nyquist did was amazing. He boosted an off-axis 360 backflip over the sub into the tranny high atop the staging deck of the course. Surely Mr. Nyquist would take the top spot, right? No. The judges gave Nyquist 88.66 points, pushing McCann out of third and leaving one rider to challenge Mirra for gold.
Now there was just one rider left to challenge Mirra. Ryan Guettler attacked the course in a manner befitting a videogame character: 720 onto the step-up, front-flip to a flair followed by a double-tailwhip. But Guettler slid out at the end of his run on a wallride flair. Still he managed to cram nearly twice the amount of high-difficulty tricks into his run. It was not enough to unseat Mirra.
Ryan Guettler does his best kangaroo impression to salute his homeland. 720 Step Up.
"I had no expectations," said Mirra. "I planned that run in my head. I hadn't even had the chance to ride the course. I can't believe that nobody beat my first run because there were some solid second runs. I'll take it, though. After what happened in Vert the other day, I'm happy."
"Nobody was more surprised than me that I pulled that twisty-flip, spinning sideways transfer."Ryan Nyquist
"It's good that Dave won. Now he has enough gold to melt down his medals for another bike."Mat Hoffman
"All I wanted to do was win something so I could wear my gold sunglasses on my gold bike with my gold medal."Dave Mirra
"Cranmer got ripped off."A lot of people
Three construction workers shot themselves with nail guns during construction of the course. None was seriously injured.
This is the first X Games Park course designed and built by ramp guru Nate Wessel.
Dave Mirra has won 19 X Games medals, more than any other athlete.
Morgan Wade got a haircut.
Finals in Park and Dirt were both held Saturday.
The two Ryans, Nyquist and Guettler, rode both events.
Old-school freestyle pro Woody Itson brought a gold-plated seatpost clamp from his gold-plated 1988 Hutch Trickstar to show Dave Mirra.
Ryan Nyquist is undercover incognito with a giant Village People mustache.