X Games adds new disciplines
Seven months after announcing the X Games would grow to six cities in 2013, ESPN on Monday revealed a diverse list of sports and disciplines that will take place at each of the six stops -- including the three new sites in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Barcelona and Munich.
It will be a mix of old and new, with local input weighing heavily, as event organizers crafted a docket reflective of regional cultures but also intended to present a global and comprehensive action-sports showcase throughout the series. Eight sports -- including Mountain Bike Slopestyle (in Munich) for the first time -- and 26 disciplines will be part of the show in the coming year. Other notable additions include BMX Freestyle Dirt (in Foz do Iguaçu), a back-to-roots discipline that features natural-surface jumps, and Women's Skateboard Park (in Barcelona), which puts women in the concrete bowl for the first time since 2003.
"We were always taking kind of a global look at things" while selecting which sports would appear in which cities, said Tim Reed, X Games senior director of content strategy.
Reed said there were no quotas factored into the selections, but input from local organizing committees and backdrop aesthetics played a role. In Munich, there will be less BMX (Big Air and Park will be included, but not Vert or Street), but Mountain Bike Slopestyle will debut on a famous hill next to the Olympic Park that also hosts World Cup Alpine ski races. In Slopestyle, riders throw inverted tricks off kickers and add freestyle flair off other features in the man-made course.
"That was an event that the locals felt very strongly about and felt it was relevant," Reed said. "The hill has a great elevation change, so we figured it out."
Other venues offer similar gems of which organizers plan to take advantage. In Barcelona, the Vert ramp for BMX and Skateboard will be constructed over the pool that hosted the 1992 Olympic diving competition, with the city as the backdrop. And the RallyCross race will take place on a hybrid course that zips in and out of the Olympic Stadium via tunnels. RallyCross likely will be held at all four summer sites, but still is being finalized for Munich.
In Foz do Iguaçu, the Vert ramp will be built next to 269-foot Iguaçu Falls, with RallyCross and the Big Air MegaRamp set in front of the Itaipu Dam, one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams.
"We take a lot of different factors into how we program the event," Reed said, "but what's different from the past is we're thinking broadly across multiple events."
X Games Los Angeles will not feature Moto X Freestyle for the first time in 15 years. Reed said this decision was tied to the availability of larger venue footprints at the other three summer sites (including Olympic stadiums in Munich and Barcelona). In recent years, Freestyle had been held at L.A.'s Staples Center.
Also, in a decision announced in August, the X Course will not be part of X Games Aspen in 2013, ending a 16-year run in Snowboarder X and a 15-year run in Skier X that helped get the sports added to the Winter Olympics program. The Winter X dockets in Aspen and Tignes, France, otherwise remain largely the same.
The biggest news for female athletes, aside from the cross-sport video-segment competition called Real Women, which will debut in 2013, is the addition of Skateboard Park in Barcelona. Four-time X Games gold-medalist skateboarder Cara-Beth Burnside said it should give women more incentive to push the sport.
"There are so many girls out there skating right now, and transition skating is a huge part of what they are skating," Burnside said.
The Global X Games calendar kicks off with X Games Aspen Jan. 24-27.