X Games Minneapolis 2017: Defending gold medalists
Returning X Games Competitors
X Games has just released the list of the first wave of athletes invited to X Games Minneapolis 2017. Per tradition, all medalists from X Games Austin 2016 have received an automatic invite. Don't remember exactly who all those people are? Refresh your memory with this handy gallery featuring our defending X Games gold medalists.
Moto X Best Trick: Jacko Strong
Australia's Jacko Strong was helicoptered to the hospital after slamming his neck into his handlebars in the Moto X QuarterPipe competition. After confirming that the artery in his neck was not ruptured, Strong checked out of the hospital and took a heli back to the X Games venue, where Brian Deegan met him at the helipad and brought him to the Best Trick competition ... which he then won with a front flip.
Men's Skateboard Park: Pedro Barros
Pedro Barros has never finished worse than silver-medal position in his nine X Games Skateboard Park appearances. The 2014 gold medalist got bumped to silver in 2015, but came back to solidly reclaim the top spot in 2016, bringing his gold-medal tally to six.
BMX Dirt: Kyle Peraza
The 21-year-old Arizona native took a surprise win in BMX Dirt at X Games Austin 2016. Peraza hadn't finished better than seventh in any of his previous five X Games competition starts. Three-time defending Dirt champ Kyle Baldock had the second highest single-run score of the comp but crashed in his other two passes, dooming his chances to medal in the best-of-two runs format.
Men's Skateboard Street: Ryan Decenzo
After a two hour rain delay that fell right in the middle of the Men's Skateboard Street contest at XG Austin 2016, a relaxed Ryan Decenzo came out to best Street powerhouse Nyjah Huston and win his first-ever X Games gold. The Vancouver native gave partial credit for his success to his comfort skating in damp conditions, saying the rain made the event feel less like a contest and more like skating at home. Look for Huston, who finished in silver-medal position to come back gunning for his No. 1 spot in Minneapolis.
BMX Street: Garrett Reynolds
Throughout BMX Street finals at X Games Austin 2016, Garrett Reynolds was in unfamiliar territory, being out of podium position going into his final run. He stepped up to the pressure, however, delivered a flawless final run and walked away with another gold medal in BMX Street.
Women's Skateboard Park: Kisa Nakamura
Sixteen-year-old Kisa Nakamura made history when she won the Women's Skateboard Park event at X Games Austin 2016, becoming the first Japanese gold medalist in X Games Skateboard history.
BMX Park: Dennis Enarson
Dennis Enarson entered X Games Austin 2016 tied with Simon Tabron for most silver medals (five) won without having also won a gold. Tabron took another silver in the BMX Vert comp, but Enarson finally claimed victory, taking gold in BMX Park.
Women's Skateboard Street: Pamela Rosa
Pamela Rosa skated with precision at XG Austin 2016 and proved that her X Games Oslo 2016 gold was no fluke by backing it up with another top-spot performance. The teenage Brazilian powerhouse beat favorites Leticia Bufoni and Alexis Sablone for the win.
BMX Big Air: Colton Satterfield
Colton Satterfield won gold at X Games Austin 2015 with a first-in-Big-Air double flair. He was just the second person to land the trick at X Games. He returned to Austin in 2016 looking to pull off the discipline's first three-peat. Unfortunately, wind and weather forced a cancelation of the events, postponing the potential achievement to 2017.
Moto X Freestyle: Josh Sheehan
Australia's Josh Sheehan participated in four Moto events at X Games Austin 2016. He won silver in QuarterPipe and Best Trick, placed fourth in Best Whip and took gold in Moto X Freestyle.
Moto X Flat Track: Jared Mees
Jared Mees took gold in Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing at XG Austin 2016. It was sweet redemption for Mees, who led the X Games Austin 2015 race for 18 of the 20 laps before his bike broke two corners from the checkered flag, relegating him to 11th place.
BMX Vert: Jamie Bestwick
After settling for a silver at XG Austin 2015 that ended his X Games record-winning streak at nine back-to-back gold medals, Jamie Bestwick came back in 2016 won BMX Vert gold. Again. With 14 total X Games gold medals to his name, Bestwick is just one medal away from Shaun White's all-time record.
BMX Mirra Best Trick: Kyle Baldock
A new event was held at X Games Austin 2016, Dave Mirra's BMX Park Best Trick. Australia's Kyle Baldocktook home the "gold pedal" in the first year of the event. It was Baldock's fifth X Games gold.
Moto X Step Up: Jarryd McNeil, Libor Podmol
X Games Munich 2013 champ Libor Podmol and Step Up first-timer Jarryd McNeil were awarded double gold at X Games Austin 2016 after both failed to clear the 33'6" bar. Their win ended seven-time gold medalist Ronnie Renner's three-in-a-row Step Up streak. McNeil then went on to win his second-straight gold in Moto X Best Whip, a fan-judged Twitter-based contest.
Skateboard Vert: Sam Beckett
With his Skateboard Vert gold at X Games Austin 2016, Sam Beckett became the first athlete from Great Britain to win an X Games Skateboard event.