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BMX Vert and Park disciplines, along with the Skateboard Park event, will not be contested at X Games Los Angeles this year, ESPN confirmed Wednesday. The changes mark the first time BMX Vert and Park have been missing from the X Games lineup since the first Extreme Games in Newport, R.I., in 1995. Skateboard Park has been held every year since 1995 except for a hiatus from 2005-2007.
"For more than 18 years, the X Games have been constantly changing and evolving and with the move to a global, six-event model with this year's expansion, we have the opportunity to produce different events across the globe and showcase a very diverse sports lineup," said Tim Reed, senior director of Content Strategy and Sports & Competition at ESPN. "It's important to view X Games as not just one event but as a collective six events, which will have a variety of sports and disciplines moving forward."
Eliminating the BMX Park and Skateboard Park events removes one additional contest venue and two televised events from the equation as the city concludes its 11-year run hosting the X Games. Moto X Best Trick is also out of the lineup in Los Angeles this year, as previously announced. Reed said despite the removal of the moto, skateboard and BMX events, X Games is not scaling back the Los Angeles event, and said a full list of X Games L.A. disciplines, sports and venues will be announced shortly.
X Games Los Angeles was originally scheduled to feature BMX Big Air, Street, Park and Vert events. The BMX Park and Vert disciplines will remain in the mix at other X Games events for the foreseeable future but will be spread out across the new Global X Games calendar. X Games Foz do Iguaçu featured Big Air, Dirt, Park and Vert disciplines in April, and Big Air, Park, Street and Vert will be featured at X Games Barcelona later this month. X Games Munich in June will feature BMX Big Air and BMX Park events.
"Obviously I'm bummed because it was on the schedule and we were down to ride, so it's definitely a surprise," said seven-time BMX Vert gold medalist Jamie Bestwick. "It's a shame that it got canceled, but if it would have happened to another stop, it would have been just as big a shame."
Still, for Bestwick, the changes in L.A. represent a big loss for BMX riders and fans, even with the new global X Games events in the mix.
"BMX Vert and BMX Park are synonymous with the X Games and have been from the start, and for the last decade the L.A. event has been the big show," he said. "For me, losing two BMX events from the L.A. stop feels like it could be detrimental to both BMX and to the X Games, but these are not battles for me to fight. ... For now, the best we can do is trust that this decision wasn't made lightly."
Riders learned about the cancellation on Wednesday via an email from the X Games BMX sport organizers at Hoffman Sports Association.
"I have no idea if it started losing ratings or what happened, but it really sucks," said Daniel Dhers, a four-time BMX Park gold medalist. "I mean, we still have the three international events that were introduced this year, but having that one in the States was key: It's always been a special contest for BMX, and I'm worried that it's definitely going to hurt the sport. I'm not really angry, I'm more just bummed and sad."
Events still in the mix for X Games Los Angeles include BMX Big Air and Street; Skateboard Big Air, Vert and Street (men's and women's); Moto X Best Whip, Step Up, Women's Racing and Enduro X (men's and women's); and RallyCross.