Photo Gallery: X Games Foz
A whopping 58,285 people showed up for the X Games' debut in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. They came from all over Brazil and the rest of the world to watch the best athletes in action sports. After Brazil? The X Games heads to Barcelona, Spain, May 16-19.
The pressure of competing on the grand stage in front of your hometown crowd would give most skaters the jitters -- but not Leticia Bufoni. The Brazilian knew she'd have her hands full with Women's Skateboard Street defending champion Alexis Sablone, but Bufoni hit the course with confidence, sealing the top podium. Bufoni was one of three Brazilians – including fellow skaters Bob Burnquist and Pedro Barros -- to earn gold medals this week.
X Games RallyCross rookie and gold medalist Scott Speed made his winning pass on the "Joker" lap after the last jump. "The crazy thing was over the jump I couldn't see anything," Speed said. "There's so much dirt, and I just was hoping I was going to land in the right spot and I did and it stuck, so I mean, just incredible."
A botched first start left RallyCross podium favorites Travis Pastrana, Ken Block, and Tanner Foust in the dust, so to speak. This left room for Scott Speed, a former Formula One driver who had never jumped a car before this week, to land in the gold-medal spot. "I have an X Games gold medal," Speed said afterward. "I definitely never thought I'd be able to pull that off in my life."
Ben Hatchell had the most unique lines of all the competitors in Skateboard Park -- and the deepest bag of tricks, including Units, Stale 540s, kickflip Indys, Lien Sal-flips, and lipslides from low to high. For all that, he earned a bronze medal.
As a fitting finale to X Games Foz on Sunday night, Japan's Taka Higashino won his second gold medal in Moto X Freestyle. The Japanese rider wore an Eigo Sato patch on his pants, in honor of his friend who died in February while training for this year's competition season. "Eigo Sato, you teach me everything," Sato has written. "You [will] always [be] by my side."
Competition at X Games Foz on Saturday awarded six gold medals across three disciplines. Jamie Bestwick compared the heat and humidity at X Games Foz to "riding in a hot yoga session," but he managed to rally himself into his seventh consecutive BMX Vert victory in Brazil. Leading the scoreboard with high airs and stretched variations throughout the finals, Bestwick claimed the first seven-peat in X Games history.
Haro BMX pro Pat Casey traveled to X Games Foz to compete in BMX Park. Between technical variations and burly airs such as this no-hander in the deep bowl, Casey was able to achieve a silver medal in BMX Park at X Games Foz, his best X Games finish to date.
Throngs of people came out to check out the debut of X Games in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. This is the third stop on X Games's six-stop global tour, which started in January in Aspen, Colo., stopped in Tignes, France, in March, and will go next to Barcelona, Spain, then Munich, Germany, and end in Los Angeles, Calif.
The RallyCross field that assembled in Foz do Iguaçu for the first international X Games RallyCross competition included pro drivers from Formula One, IndyCar, NASCAR, off-road trucks, rally and motocross.
Brazilian Street League skateboarder Luan Oliveira was celebrated by the crowd at X Games Foz each time his name was announced during Street League at X Games finals. Oliveira went head to head with Street League reigning champ Nyjah Huston, and sent the crowd into a frenzy when he stomped this switch frontside flip.
Kyle Baldock had never competed in an X Games before X Games Foz. With dual invites in both BMX Park and BMX Dirt, Baldock showed up to Brazil and took home his first X Games gold in the Park category. Just a few hours later, Baldock returned for BMX Dirt and earned his second X Games gold medal. Baldock is the first BMXer to claim double gold medals at an X Games event since 2006.
São Paulo-based street skateboarder Leticia Bufoni injured her foot just more than a month ago and was unsure about competing in the Women's Skate Street class at X Games Foz. After deliberation, Bufoni boarded a plane for X Games and ended up winning gold.
The 90 percent dirt course that was prepared for RallyCross in Brazil was plowed from a farmer's cornfield. "The guys used to loose-surface driving are definitely going to have the advantage," said Ken Block, shown here during RallyCross practice. Block has been racing rally cars on dirt since 2004.
Street League made its X Games debut this week in Brazil. David Gonzalez, the 22-year-old from Medellín, Colombia, who was Thrasher Magazine's 2012 Skater of the Year, competed in prelims but didn't advance to the finals.
After a seven-year hiatus, BMX Dirt was brought back into the X Games and, with it, the likes of fresh faces on the BMX Dirt course. Here, TJ Ellis, a newcomer to X Games competition, keeps it stylish during BMX Dirt practice Friday.
Nearly two years ago, BMX Big Air competitor Morgan Wade ruptured his spleen at a MegaRamp competition in São Paulo, Brazil. Wade returned to Brazil to compete in BMX Big Air at X Games Foz, and managed to earn the bronze medal and land the highest triple tailwhip on record (22 feet on the quarterpipe).
Ronnie Renner, 35, came into X Games Foz as the defending champion and current record holder in Moto X Step Up -- and the one to beat in Brazil. Bryce Hudson, 22, arrived in Foz do Iguaçu as an X Games rookie with no pressure but his own. In the end, it was Hudson who took home gold, while Renner earned silver.
With X Games Foz comes the return of the MegaRamp, featuring Skateboard Big Air and BMX Big Air categories. Here, BMXer Colton Satterfield and skateboarder Jake Brown sample the air above Foz do Iguaçu during Big Air practice on Thursday.
Originally a Skateboard Vert competitor, Ben Hatchell used his skate bowl experience to transition into the Skateboard Park category. Hatchell traveled to X Games Foz and quickly adapted to the park course during practice on X Games at Thursday.
Fans traveled from throughout Brazil to Foz do Iguaçu to catch a glimpse of their favorite X Games athletes. Here, fans sneak a peek at street skateboarder Nyjah Huston, who traveled from California to compete in the inaugural Street League at X Games competition.
Maria Forsberg, shown here in a pileup with fellow competitor Chantelle Bykerk, was attempting a three-peat in Women's Enduro X at X Games Foz, but Spanish rider and X Games rookie Laia Sanz took gold instead. "Laia rode awesome," Forsberg said. "The more girls, the merrier, the more they push all of us to go faster."
Almost Skateboards pro Greg Lutka left Street League two years ago to pursue competitions such as the Maloof Money Cup and the Dew Tour. But Lutzka made a surprising return to Street League during the Select Series stop at X Games Foz and narrowly missed making Street League prelims. Despite consistent runs, Lutzka finished second behind Manny Santiago.
The slippery Enduro X course on the first night of X Games Foz proved to be a challenge to the riders, who compared it to riding on ice. "I was riding super tense. I don't know what was going on," says Taddy Blazusiak, who took gold for the men. "I just couldn't keep it together and then in the final, my mechanic told me, 'Just take it easy, you know how to ride.' And that's what I did."
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