V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder, is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
As every rider knows, skateboarding started in California during the 50s and turned into an experiential activity, a space to learn what is possible if you take a risk. Skateboarding first became popular all around the United States and in the 90s the beginnings of the X Games would help skateboarding grow into an even bigger phenomena worldwide.
X Games started in 1995 with big street and park skateparks. Since the beginning, event organizers were looking for X Games to be the best show and biggest event ever, so that's how they made it. It was a collective job to create the best stages for the riders and the public, so that they could share in this great experience down to every little detail, with TV coverage to a wide audience.
Every year the audience have lived the feelings and actions that represents a rider under pressure doing his best show to win big. From 1995 until 2000 X Games Skateboarding was representing Vert, Big Air and Park, with great skaters like Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist, Bucky Lasek, Andy Mcdonald, Eric Koston, Chris Senn and Rodil de Araujo who continued winning in the new millennium, and others like Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Sandro Dias, Shaun White.
In 2000 a new modality came into play at the X Games; Street, in addition, the female category in Vert, that until 2009 led girls like Cara-Beth Burnside, Karen Jonz, Gaby Ponce and Lynz Adams win X Games medals and become pro skater girls. Street and Park would see winners like Paul Rodriguez, Elissa Steamer, Chris Cole, Ryan Sheckler, Nyjah Houston, Alexis Sablone, Vanessa Torres, Marisa dal Santo, Leticia Bufoni, Lacey Baker, Pamela Rosa, Aori Nishimura, Ryan Decenzo, Kelvin Hoefler, Pedro Barros, Alex Sorgente, Brighton Zeuner, Kisa Nakamura, Lizzie Armanto, Rune Glifberg, and many more. These skaters got to become the biggest and thanks to the X Games, they could now become known around the world.
Creating Opportunities to All Skateboarders
Photo by Tim Trad (Unsplash)
Being there and observing the best riders risking their lives while achieving every possible difficult trick made X Games the most important event of the years to the skateboarding hungry public and TV audience. It’s important to mention how young some of the riders who participated in these contests were, skateboarders like Ryan Scheckler was competing in 2003 at just 13 years old. Like him there were and still are a lot of kids competing in the X Games, giving them the opportunity to grow up as skaters on this platform.
Something absolutely special between the X Games and skateboarding are Big Air and Vertical. Observe skaters flying high, turning skateboarding into a big show. It's been important to our history as a sport and thanks to them lots of fans have started to buy skateboards around the world, and riders like Tony Hawk achieved becoming a symbol of skateboarding.
All of these experiences couldn’t happen without the collective work of ESPN and organizers from X Games who gave these extreme sporters the opportunity to show how amazing they could be, doing what they love and proving their skills.
Of course, victory isn’t the only thing that X Games is remembered for, we have also seen big falls, people getting hurt and lots of sad tears in between the happy ones too. However, the energy and the enthusiasm between the public, hosts and riders have turned X Games into thought-provoking mix of memories and feelings. I suppose that this was what the guys behind the X Games wanted to mean to all of the community.
Remembering Some of the Best Moments
Photo by Tim Trad (Unsplash)
All the memories we have, like the one observing Paul Rodriguez while wondering what he was saying to himself behind his cap before the trick and after achieving it. We also remember the great tricks by Nyjah Huston, who still give the entire public his best show, while inspiring other skateboarders to be better as well. We should remember Lynz Adams who won more than 5 medals on the vert and who represented the women in this category before it was canceled.
Of course we also have to mention Tony Hawk and his iconic presentation with the 900 in X Games during a live broadcast, all the people were celebrating, many skateboarders were thankful of having witnessed that historic moment, later Hawk kissed her wife and son and said that this day had been the best day of his entire life.
X Games showed skateboarding away from the parks while giving a perspective of how skating is on the street, taking advantage of a moment and a place where skaters might couldn’t return back to soon, as well the importance of filmers and photographers who helps memories live on forever and be retold.
Even if those memories are significant to all of the community who saw them, skateboarding still is a street sport, and with the entire X Game production, they let skateboarders show everyone the importance and value of outside skateboarding. How the best skateboarders go out and find the best place to do their most difficult tricks and record every single moment of the experience.
With interviews, high definition videos and lots of talent, X Games has written a long and significant story that expresses the importance of skateboarding as a culture and competition. We are grateful for all of these experiences and recognize that this event was one of the first big believers in skateboarding, who thought that this could be bigger than everything we could imagine.