X Games Austin: The Best and Worst of 2014

Austin pretty much had it all for X Games fans and athletes alike, which might be why after 11 years the ESPN extreme sports spectacular up and moved from Los Angeles for a change of scenery.  The storylines were good ones, the backdrop was picturesque and the athletes were some of the best in recent memory – it certainly made for some fantastic TV over the weekend.

This year’s X Games featured five sports – some of which had several disciplines – with 20 medal events in skateboarding, motocross, BMX, RallyCross and Stadium SUPER Trucks.  We decided to take a look back at the best, and the worst, of each sport from Austin – do you agree?

Best Skateboarding Moment

Nyjah Huston Sets Record in Skateboard Street

His run included a switch 50-50 down an eight-stair rail, Cab720 backside lipslide down a rail and a noseblunt slide on the Jersey barrier.  Oh, and Huston did it all in style, wearing a camouflage tank top with an American flag strewn across the chest.  

Worst Skateboarding Moment – Bucky Lasek Unable to Produce in Skateboard Vert

Bucky Lasek was certainly one of the favorites going into Thursday’s Skateboarding Vert event.  Lasek, 41, won all four global X Games vert events last year but was still nursing an elbow injury.  Donning a white shirt with the phrase “I’m hurt not old” written on it, Lasek was unable to get anything going on his first run, falling about halfway through.  The second run wouldn’t end any better.

Just a few seconds in, Lasek tried his signature move, the 180-deree frontside Cab Heelflip but it was evident that his arm was still in pain as he couldn’t grab the board the way he wanted and was forced to bail on the trick.  Lasek finished in last with a score of 21.33 – but he gets points for trying.

Best BMX Moment

Jamie Bestwick Does It… Again

With the amazing backdrop of the capital building, the 42-year-old wowed the crowd on his last run and finished with a final score of 92.66 – walking away with more hardware and admitting to once again be elated.  Though Bestwick did admit to ESPN that he awaits the day when he meets his match, he continues to see his success as an inspiration to riders everywhere.

Worst BMX Moment – Chad Kagy falters in BMX Big Air Final

It was a difficult weekend for Chad Kagy.  After a disappointing seventh place finish in BMX Vert, the 35-year-old looked to rebound in Big Air, an event he took gold in last year at Munich.  While Kagy admitted he had been looking forward to Saturday’s event for months, it didn’t go his way either, finishing again in seventh with a score of 79.33.  Both he and Steve McCann – the favorites – failed to medal.

Kagy was running on little sleep and had plenty on his mind this past weekend, after the birth of his daughter early last week, so we can totally understand how it happened.  I’m sure he would gladly take the trade off of a new child for no medals in Austin – like he doesn’t have 15 X Games medals already.

Best Moto Moment

Ronnie Renner Steps Up Big

Going into Friday, Ronnie Renner had won the Moto X Step Up five times, including a record setting 47-foot jump at Los Angeles in 2012.  Though he didn’t come close to that mark in Austin, Renner took home his sixth gold in the event with a jump of 34 feet.  At 33.50 feet, Bryce Hudson, the second place finisher, wasn’t able to reach the height in his two attempts.

Renner, 36, continues to add to his X Games legacy, one that makes him one of the best Moto X riders to ever compete.  11 medals and still going strong – let’s see if he can make it three in a row next year.

Worst Moto Moment – Beau Bamburg’s Last Place Finish

We’re going to blame the fans on this one.  The Moto X Best Whip was chosen by the fans and while Tom Parsons earned 33-percent of the vote, Beau Bamburg finished with just seven-percent.  He might not have had what it took to win, but last place was definitely a bit of a stretch.

He’s never earned an X Games medal in 11 years of competition – come on, America.

Best RallyCross Moment

Lasek Finally Medals

For the last two years, Lasek has tried his luck at RallyCross, even appearing on an episode of Top Gear, but never finished better than 11.  That came to an end this weekend, when the Subaru driver pushed his orange and white car past crowd favorite Travis Pastrana, among others, to earn X Games silver.  Lasek has made RallyCross a priority as of recently and could look to fully transition to the sport as he gets older.

Sure, he might have finished almost five seconds behind the winner, but it was a big moment of Lasek’s career and proved that he’s able to compete with some of racing’s best drivers.

Worst RallyCross Moment – Tanner Foust Rolls Out

Sitting there, upside-down, for a moment, Foust was clearly disappointed but wanted to flip it over and further compete in the competition.  It wasn’t that easy, however.  Until next year, Foust.

Best Stadium SUPER Trucks Moment

Apdaly Lopez Walks Away with Gold

Plus he was one of the only trucks to finish without a scratch on it.

Worst Stadium SUPER Trucks Moment – Bobby Runyan, Jr. Finishes in Last after Crash

Last place was not what Bobby Runyan, Jr. expected heading into Sunday’s race.  However, Runyan was right with the pack until Lap 4, when he barrel-rolled off the side of a banked jump on the course, which led to a red flag and an abrupt pause in the race.

While there were several rough moments in the event, Runyan seem poised for a medal and for the disappointment to happen so quickly, we couldn’t help but call it the worst moment.

Ed Miller is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

Photo Credit: ESPN


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