Almost 115,000 people joined the X-Games, the extreme sport competition in Barcelona

The rain that fell on the Catalan capital did not tarnish the first X-Games held in Barcelona, although it did cause a headache for the organisers, who had to juggle with competition schedules and even cancel the RallyCross and Moto X Freestyle competitions. 114,600 people attended the event in total, crowding out the venues in which the different competitions were held.

Andrea Cabrera / Àlex Ramis

May 22, 2013 11:33 PM

Barcelona (CNA). – Despite the unstable weather and the economic impact that the X-Games imply for the city and its shop-keepers, the extreme sport stays as the focus for the international audience. The commercial stands distributed at the Montjuïc Olympic Ring throughout four days didn’t attract the crowds, who preferred the excitement of the competitions.

The atmosphere of the first European summer X-Games was palpable from the moment you arrived at Plaça Espanya. People from all over the world waited for the bus that carried them to the top of the Montjuïc mountain. Staff members guided the crowd. The X-Games coincided with the Barcelona International Motor Show 2013 and this made access to the Montjuïc Olympic Ring even more difficult.

Once you reached the top of the mountain, you discovered the real essence of the Barcelona X-Games. Many people arrived with their skates and bikes and left them in charge of the organization at the entrance to have fun. Despite the unstable weather, lots of extreme sports fanatics came to Montjuïc. “This weekend almost all the tickets were sold” said one of the staff members.

Due to the weather, some events had to be delayed on the last day of competition. The change of the Enduro Moto X circuit for the Rally Cross had problems and, for that reason, all the competitions in the evening were delayed and the Rally Cross final was cancelled. This incident left Catalan racer Nani Roma without a chance to participate for the first time at the X-Games. The Moto X Freestyle had to be cancelled as well due to the wind.

Despite this, it is obvious that the games were success. The first two days less people came to the Montjuïc Olympic Ring to see the X-Market and the X-Fest because the main events were at the Swimming Pool of Montjuïc. But the other two days, the outside area was full of visitors. That’s why staff members and shop-keepers were delighted with the idea of Barcelona hosting the X-Games.

“Hopefully, the expectations of the crowd will be achieved” stated one of the staff members in reference to the figure of 100,000 spectators fixed by the organisation, “it’s something new in the city and we have to do it two more years, so it is a good thing that people come here”. She also encouraged people to come next year saying that “it is always great to see something different”.

Shop-keepers have a similar opinion about mass events such as X-Games. One of the workers at the snack bar in front of the Montjuïc Olympic Ring, said that all these events “move a lot of money” and that “they have sold a lot more drinks throughout the four days”. Despite this, he stated that “other events generate greater income”. Anyway, despite the big number of people entering to the X-Games, there wasn’t almost any stand at the outside area of the Montjuïc Olympic Ring. We don’t have to forget that, despite the commercial side of the event, the main attraction of is still the extreme sports.

The gold medal winners

Despite the cancelled RallyCross final, all scheduled competitions were held in front of big crowds, which crowded the various venues in which the events took place, forcing organisers to hang the ‘sold out’ poster more than once. The atmosphere was more typical of the competitions held in the United States than in Europe, something that certainly encouraged the public to lift their voice to cheer on the different riders.

Although most of the winners were Americans, Catalan competitors have not been left behind. After a hard fall, Laia Sanz triumphed in the Enduro X and managed to clinch the gold medal as she did in the Foç de Iguazu X-Games. Edgar Torronteras, though, couldn’t do so in on the Moto X Speed&Style category, which Mike Mason won. However, Torronteras got the gold medal at the Moto X Best Whip category, a title that Edgar celebrated with his partner immediately after stepping off the motor bike, on the same track.

The medalists in each category were, in the Skate category, Bob Burnquist (Big Air), who achieved his 11th gold medal, Bucky Lasek (Vert), Nyjah Huston (Street), Brazilian Pedro Barros (Park) and Lizzy Armanto (Femenine Park). In the BMX category, riders like Gary Young (Park), who won his first gold medal, Jamie Bestwick (Vert), Garrett Reynolds (Street) and Zack Warden (Big Air), took gold. Mike Brown won the Enduro X category.

But not only did established riders succeed in the X-Games. The 16 year-old Mitchie Brusco (Skate Vert), the 12-year-old Jagger Eaton (Skate Big Air) and the 12-year-old Alana Smith (femenine Skate Park) flew over to Barcelona and instantly became the public’s favourites. These games will stay in Alana’s memories because despite not winning the gold medal that went to Lizzy Armanto, she became the youngest medalist in the story of the X-Games by taking a silver medal in the Skate Park Feminine Final.