X Games notes: Australian rookie Alex Hiam wins BMX gold medal
Alex Hiam got the invitation four weeks ago to his first X Games. The Australian BMX rookie walked away Friday night as a gold medalist in Dave Mirras BMX Park Best Trick.
Hiam, 22, nailed a double tailwhip, a move more spectacular than it sounds. He leapt with his bike onto a vaulted plexiglass ramp, planting the front tire and completing the bikes second rotation while his foot rested on top of the front tire. His first-ever X Games run stunned fans in the lower bowl of U.S. Bank Stadium.
It shocked Hiam, too.
The level of tricks that were out there, I didnt think I could win it, Hiam said. Im pretty surprised.
His X Games debut couldnt have been scripted better. Hiam, from Brisbane, Australia, grew up playing Mirras video games, riding his bikes and idolizing the late BMX legend. A preteen Hiam even met Mirra while riding at his former training facility in North Carolina.
The BMX Park Best Trick event was named in Mirras honor following his suicide in 2016.
My first bike was a Mirra 360, 16-inch, Hiam said. Just seeing how he handled the bike, just his energy and stuff. Hes my biggest idol.
High Air goes even higher
Builders raised the stakes on Friday nights Moto X QuarterPipe High Air. During construction, the landing ramp height was beefed up by a few feet. It doesnt sound like much, but X Games coordinators believed a 24-foot tall dirt landing would entice motocross competitors to fly even higher than last years 29.5-foot record set by Colby Raha.
Three riders eclipsed that mark Friday, including California native Axell Hodges, who took home his first X Games gold medal with a jump of 34 feet, 3 inches. Raha won silver with a leap of 33-2.
Canadian Kris Foster had a nasty crash in practice Thursday, but he rode hurt Friday and placed sixth.
Milou shatters expectations
Before Vincent Milous top run in Fridays skateboard street qualifier, an ESPN broadcaster openly wondered if the 20-year-old French skater was just happy to be here during his X Games debut.
Milou shattered expectations with a series of flips and grinds that vaulted him to a top score of 91.33, ahead of second-place Jagger Eatons 88.33.
Milou earned a bid to Sunday afternoons final, which will include Rochesters Alec Majerus, the silver medalist from 2017.
Motocross in the Olympics?
Skateboarding will be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but a three-time X Games gold medalist and face of motocross said he doesnt want to see dirt bikes head in the same direction.
I hope not, said Jackson Strong, who competed in Moto X Freestyle on Friday night. Im pretty comfy here. This is it. This is family. I dont think Id really want freestyle as a sport to move in that direction. I think it fits right at home here and this is where its going to stay.