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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The return of Morgan Wade

By Mike Hines
XGames.com

Morgan Wade, pocket air during X Games Los Angeles BMX Park practice on Wednesday.

Borrowing his parent's Honda Odyssey minivan, Morgan Wade and his wife Natalie drove a day and half from Texas to Los Angeles, Calif. for the X Games this weekend. Wade is competing in both BMX Park and Big Air, and after the past few days of practice he was a little disappointed.

"They shortened the MegaRamp," Morgan said. "The designers always ask us how can they make the events and courses better, and I always tell them to make an 80 to 90 foot jump." Morgan said the jump that is normally 70 feet long was cut down about six feet to even the competition out, but in his opinion that doesn't really help.

"I'm not going to jump the shorter 50 foot jump all weekend out of protest," Morgan said [laughing].

He explained two years ago he received the same score as Steve McCann because he elected to hit the longer jump and go as high as he could out of the quarter. McCann landed a double tailwhip about 12 to 15 feet out, whereas Morgan only did an invert but was soaring a good ten feet higher.

"I'm not a vert dog, I can't do some of the big quarter tricks, so I'm going to just go as high as I possibly can," Morgan said.

Morgan is notorious for going high and also going for broke. In July 2011, he was at a contest similar to X Games Big Air in Brazil when he came up short, casing the quarter pipe from 18 feet out. He went straight to the bottom of the ramp rupturing his spleen and breaking his wrist.

"I got to keep the spleen," Morgan said. "In the U.S. they usually remove your spleen because for three days you have a good chance of rupturing it again and the doctors don't want to risk another surgery or a lawsuit, but in Brazil they fixed my spleen and I had to stay in the intensive care unit for three days."

Morgan said that after 10 weeks his spleen was back to normal size and he was able to ride again. The 10 weeks allowed for his wrist to heal but it also forced him to miss almost all the major contests last year. Now, he's 100 percent and excited about riding in this year's X Games.

For some reason everyone thinks I only ride Big Air, I love Big Air and I do it because it's fun, but riding park feels like home.

--Morgan Wade

"These are some of the best sessions with friends and amazing dudes in BMX," Morgan said, adding, "but I'm really looking forward to park. For some reason everyone thinks I only ride Big Air, I love Big Air and I do it because it's fun, but riding park feels like home."

Morgan said that this year's park course feels a little cramped, but in a weird way it also feels spread out. "The course has more of a flowing, pumping design and could use one or two more obstacles," Morgan explained.

However, a healthy Morgan Wade always seems to find the craziest line no other rider even considers. His approach to any ramp or course is often fearless and with no injuries holding him back this year he is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

This will be Morgan's ninth X Games appearance and he will be competing for qualifying spots to ride in BMX Park finals on Saturday and Big Air finals on Sunday.