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​The announcement of the Nitro World Games had much of the BMX world buzzing this past week. I heard many thoughts - both good and bad - from some of the most prominent riders in the game (off the record, of course). While we still don’t know a whole lot about this new venture, I figured it would be worthwhile to diagnose five of the key points that stood out amongst all of the information we heard from the crew behind the event. Here we go -

As fans would expect from Nitro Circus, the Nitro World Games will feature a massive production, with over 15 different ramps - including Nitro Circus’ trademark 50-foot Giganta Ramp and the biggest setup in the history of FMX Big Air – filling the stadium floor, plus pyrotechnics, state of the art replay screens and more.” (Source - Nitro World Games Press Release)

It can’t be a shock that this whole event will go down on mega ramp-esque ramps. Big stuff, ya know? The positive here? The general public can get into this style of riding without having to know very much. The negative? BMX is incredibly diverse and it would be great to show that to the masses. Beggers can’t be choosers and I’m incredibly happy they’re putting BMX on such a large stage, but a man can dream…

Having the opportunity to ride with the best in the world on the Nitro Circus live tour and it kills me seeing how much bigger these guys go on our custom ramps in my back yard then they can at the biggest action sports events in the world.” - Travis Pastrana (Source - Instagram)

It doesn’t take a brilliant mind to interpret this as a direct jab at the X-Games - but it definitely comes with some merit. BMX-wise, the “big feel” of X-Games seems to have been dwindling down over the past few years. Dave Mirra double flipping in San Francisco seemed so iconic - both to BMX and to the general public - and that was fifteen years ago. Will Nitro World Games be able to bring back that feeling? With the ever-evolving BMX media creating a drastic increase in the frequency of quality content, is that feeling even possible anymore? I guess we’ll find out in July…

NBC Sports will present three hours of live coverage of the Nitro World Games in the United States, with the telecast starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.” (Source - Nitro World Games Press Release)

Two thumbs up for this one. Every year, it gets harder and harder to watch BMX events at X-Games. It went from being a big deal on TV that you absolutely couldn’t avoid to having to watch it on ESPN 3’s top secret X-Box app. This primetime spot on a huge TV network will put BMX in front of a lot of eyes. This is something that doesn’t happen nearly enough. It’s inevitable that people will see this, realize how cool BMX is, and go try it out. Let’s party.

We have some stuff that we’ve done with Nitro Circus where all the landings are bags. Yeah, it’s a little more forgiving. Yeah, it’s a little safer. Is it real? I mean - you’re still riding out of it. You’re still doing everything. So, our goal is to take this, elevate the safety, but also elevate the level of what can be done.” - Travis Pastrana (Source - Vital MX)

I am 100% torn about this one. While I see exactly where they’re coming from, I don’t like it. Should we lower basketball hoops to make basketball more entertaining? (Thanks for the analogy, Biz). You learn tricks on a resi so you can go to a big event like this one and put them down on a legit ramp. Safety is a beautiful thing, but the risk factor is a huge part of what makes this sport so intriguing. It’s what separates BMX riders from gymnasts. Even if a trick is stomped perfectly, I have a hard time giving the rider full credit if it isn’t on a “real ramp” - and I think I speak for a lot of BMX in saying that. It’ll make the show entertaining and the general public won’t know the difference one way or another, but we will. Let’s keep it pure.

Every action sports athlete in the world is eligible to compete in the Nitro World Games.  Riders can attempt to qualify through preliminary events to be held at the Nitro Circus Academy of Excellence at Woodward West and at Travis Pastrana’s “Pastranaland” complex in Maryland U.S.A.” (Source - Nitro World Games Press Release)

This is great. Super great. This is the best thing about Nitro World Games. When it comes to “big contests,” there is no defined way to qualify into X-Games or Dew Tour (and who even knows what Dew Tour’s future plans are…). Riders can completely kill it all year long and not receive the ever elusive invite without ever knowing why. I’ve seen this happen way more times than I’d like to admit. While we don’t know how many riders will qualify into Nitro World Games or what exactly these preliminary events will consist of, this is a giant step in the right direction for the future of BMX competition. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from. If you’ve got the skills, you can earn your spot.

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In closing, here is my honest opinion. As long as this event doesn’t take away from anything we love (whether it be sponsors, other events, etc.), BMX should embrace it. Let these guys take the helm and show BMX to the masses. Today’s youth spends too much time staring at iPhones (which is probably how many of you are reading this, ironically enough) and not enough time getting out and doing cool stuff. More kids on bikes equals industry growth, which equals more good times for everyone involved. Nigel Sylvester frequently credits Dave Mirra and X-Games for exposing him to BMX and he’s living proof that being introduced is the first step. Finding your own path is the second.


Nitro World Games is going down July 16, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah atRice-Eccles Stadium.

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