For the first time in X Games history, the world's top slopestyle mountain bikers will compete alongside their counterparts in traditional summer X Games events such as RallyCross, skateboarding, BMX and Moto X, as the X Games Munich athlete invite list was released on Monday.
Mountain Bike Slopestyle at X Games Munich is one of only three Diamond level events on the annual Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour calendar this year, so it's a big one. Throw in an X Games gold medal for the winner, and you can bet the top riders in the world will be ready to throw it down. Great Britain's Sam Pilgrim, who sits atop the 2013 FMB World Tour rankings, Sweden's Martin Soederstroem, Belgium's Thomas Genon and Canada's Brett Rheeder are good bets for podium spots. But they'll be pushed by a talented field that includes wild-card invites such as Brandon Semenuk, the Canadian rider who won the overall FMB World Tour title in 2012, and freeride and slopestyle legends Darren Berrecloth and Andreu Lacondeguy.
While the Mountain Bike Slopestyle field competes for a first-ever X Games gold, three is the magic number for many of the other competitions. Zack Warden is trying to win his third gold of the year in BMX Big Air in Munich. He'll do it against many of the same riders he beat out in BMX Big Air in Foz do Iguaçu and Barcelona, like Barcelona silver medalist Vince Byron and Colton Satterfield, who took bronze. Perennial big air specialists Chad Kagy and Steve McCann help round out this high-flying field. Anthony Napolitan joins the field in Munich in place of Kevin Robinson, who is still sidelined after a hard crash in BMX Big Air in Foz.
Three skateboarders have an opportunity to capture a third X Games gold in 2013 as well. When Skateboard Big Air takes center stage, Brazilian Bob Burnquist will be the one looking for a three-peat. Like Warden, Burnquist has won X Games gold on the Big Air ramp in Foz and Barcelona. In Street League Skateboarding, Nyjah Huston can win a third consecutive gold medal and the venerable Bucky Lasek, who has looked unbeatable in Skateboard Vert, is back seeking his third X Games gold of the year.
The athlete lists are tentative and subject to change leading up to X Games Munich, which takes place June 27-30 in Munich's Olympic Stadium and surrounding venues.
Mountain Bike Slopestyle invited athletes
For the full current list of athletes, click here.