X Games L.A. what to watch for
LOS ANGELES -- After more than a decade of high-flying tricks, hard falls and gold medals galore, X Games and Los Angeles are parting ways. Before X Games moves to Austin, Texas, next year, L.A. will host one final X Games filled with rivalries, close competitions and new events to make the last stop here as unforgettable as each of the past 10. Here's what to look forward to as the X Games bids farewell to the City of Angels.
Thursday, Aug. 1
5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. ET: Women's Skateboard Street
Leticia Bufoni, Lacey Baker and Alexis Sablone are the favorites, and each has medaled in Women's Street in past X Games. Bufoni won gold in X Games Foz do Iguaçu, and Sablone was the gold medalist in Women's Street at last year's X Games Los Angeles. Alana Smith is the dark horse after she won silver in Barcelona's in Women's Skateboard Park, becoming the youngest X Games medalist ever at 12.
9 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. ET: America's Navy Skateboard Big Air Final
All-time leading medalist Bob Burnquist will try for the season sweep of Big Air golds. But it won't be easy. After having to sit out Big Air in Munich because of a concussion suffered in practice, Jake Brown is back and looks to take his third gold in the event with his signature 720 ollie over the ramp's 64-foot gap. Sixteen-year-old Mitchie Brusco could upset both if he sticks another 1080 on the quarter pipe like the one he landed in Barcelona.
10:15 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. ET: Moto X Best Whip Final
Edgar Torronteras and Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg have alternated gold medals in Best Whip this season. Stenberg won gold in Munich and will be in front of his hometown crowd in Los Angeles, an advantage because Best Whip is judged by fan voting and Stenberg is a giant on social media. Vicki Golden will make history as the first woman to compete in the event.
10:30 p.m. - midnight ET: Moto X Freestyle Final
Taka Higashino will look to get his second consecutive X Games L.A. Freestyle gold after losing to Thomas Pagés at the Red Bull X-Fighters Madrid stop earlier this month. Although Pagés has withdrawn, Higashino will be pushed by the likes of Adam Jones, Rob Adelberg, Nate Adams and Levi Sherwood. Higashino won gold in Foz do Iguaçu, but the next two Moto X Freestyle events at X Games Barcelona and Munich were canceled because of bad weather.
Friday, Aug. 2
9 p.m. - 10 p.m. ET: GoPro BMX Big Air Final
Although the crowd favorite may be Kevin Robinson as he says goodbye to professional competition in his final BMX Big Air appearance at the X Games, Zack Warden will be the podium favorite. Robinson, 41, has competed in 17 X Games, winning gold four times. But Warden's wins in Brazil and Barcelona will make him the man to beat. Chad Kagy won gold in Munich and promised "some brand-new tricks" for the fans in L.A.
10 p.m. - 11 p.m. ET: Moto X Step Up Final
One of the most-talked-about events on the X Games circuit, Moto X Step Up has been boosted by a rivalry between Ronnie Renner and Matt Buyten. Josh Hansen and Renner have started their own rivalry, too, and X Games Los Angeles will host the intriguing culmination. X Games rookie Bryce Hudson took first in Brazil, and Renner finished third, behind Buyten in Munich. After skipping Munich, Hansen will be competing in Los Angeles, which means the three will be pitted against one another with an X Games gold at stake.
11 p.m. - midnight ET: Moto X Speed & Style Final
Mike Mason will be riding for Speed & Style's first three-peat in Los Angeles after winning gold in Munich and Barcelona. Nate Adams will be his biggest challenger. Adams won bronze in Munich and silver in L.A. last year. After having to sit out X Games Munich, Andre Villa returns and will also be a threat to Mason's recent domination of the event.
Saturday, Aug. 3
2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. ET: Skateboard Vert Final
Experience and youth face off once again in Skateboard Vert as 40-year-old Bucky Lasek will try to fend off 16-year-old Brusco. Lasek is going for the season sweep of X Games golds, and Brusco, considered a favorite to dethrone Lasek, has joined him at the podium each time. Pierre-Luc Gagnon, whom Lasek knocked from the top step of the podium on his final run in Munich, has six Skateboard Vert golds to his credit and should also figure into the medal picture in L.A. If Lasek wins again, it will be the discipline's first four-peat.
4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET: Street League Skateboarding Final
Nyjah Huston won the gold medal over Paul Rodriguez by a tenth of a point in Barcelona. But the rematch in Munich was scrapped when Huston had to withdraw from competition because of heavy bruising on his ribs. He'll rekindle the rivalry with four-time gold medalist Rodriguez in Los Angeles. Chris Cole took gold in Munich with an amazing final trick, while Rodriguez won the silver. This should be one of the most popular and hotly contested events in L.A.
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. ET: BMX Street Final
Since the event's debut in 2008, Garrett Reynolds has been the undisputed best in BMX Street. Winning the past six BMX Street events, there's good reason to believe Reynolds will continue the trend when the BMX athletes ride the Street League course in Los Angeles. After being sidelined because of a wrist injury, Dennis Enarson will make his X Games return in L.A. And don't count out Reynolds' Nike BMX teammate Chad Kerley. Given the right circumstances, Kerley can certainly put pressure on Reynolds for a gold medal.
10:30 p.m. - 12:45 a.m. ET: Gymkhana GRID
An event that started as a viral video series on YouTube, Gymkhana GRID makes its X Games debut in Los Angeles. Invented by Ken Block, the event pits drivers in RallyCross cars in one-on-one races featuring the spins, drifts and tight turns that make RallyCross so exciting to watch. The field will feature several RallyCross drivers, such as Tanner Foust and Liam Doran, but Block is the favorite to win the event.
11:30 p.m. - 11:45 p.m. ET: Moto X Adaptive Final
Moto X Adaptive Racing returns to the Los Angeles lineup at the Staples Center. Adaptive riders will go six laps on the Moto X Racing track in the Staples Center after a two-year hiatus. Look for adaptive snowmobile medalist and equipment innovator Mike Schultz to make the switch from snowmobiles to bikes.
Midnight - 1:30 a.m. ET: Men's & Women's Moto X Racing Final
Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey will be absent from Men's Moto X Racing in its return to Los Angeles. With the outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season heading into its final three-race stretch, Villopoto and Dungey are forgoing the trip to prepare for an Aug. 10 race in New Berlin, N.Y. Without the sport's two biggest names competing, medal contenders include Wil Hahn, Tyler Bowers, Josh Hansen and Tyler Bereman. Vicki Golden will look to three-peat in Women's Moto X Racing.
Sunday, Aug. 4
3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET: Men's & Women's Enduro X Final
KTM teammates Taddy Blazusiak and Mike Brown have been trading the gold medal back and forth since Men's Enduro X debuted in 2011. But Taylor Robert bumped off Blazusiak and Brown in Munich when Robert won his first X Games gold medal. Robert will be in L.A. looking to steal Men's Enduro X gold away from Blazusiak and Brown.
After winning the Women's Enduro X gold in Los Angeles in 2011 and 2012, Maria Forsberg has had her hands full with Laia Sanz as of late. Sanz took gold in Brazil and Barcelona, but Forsberg got back on top in Munich. Expect Sanz and Forsberg to be in the top two again in Los Angeles, though Tarah Gieger could also be a threat.
5 p.m. - 7 p.m. ET: Ford RallyCross SuperCar Final
With Travis Pastrana focused on his NASCAR Nationwide Series commitments and Ken Block also competing in Gymkhana GRID, a crazy year has Tanner Foust and Liam Doran as the ones to beat in L.A. Don't sleep on Toomas "Topi" Heikkinen, either. Heikkinen won gold in the second of two RallyCross races in Munich and won the next two GRC finals at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway in July. As usual, Block, Pastrana and 2013 RallyCross rookie Scott Speed will all be contenders at Irwindale Speedway.