Should Ryan Williams Be in X Games?

Photo courtesy of Hyper Bicycles

We’ve seen R Willy do a bunch of circus tricks on a big resi ramp. Why on Earth should that entitle him to an X Games invite?

Just a disclaimer, I don’t know Ryan Williams. I’ve met him very briefly on a few occasions and we share a handful of friends, but my opinions here are in no way influenced by a personal relationship.

Love him or hate him, the scooter / BMX hybrid brings something different to the table. His arsenal of difficult and unusual tricks have won him two (the only two, in fact) victories in Best Tricks at Nitro World Games - which is judged by respected BMX veterans - and, apparently, even scored him a million dollar contract with Nitro Circus. Maybe you’re a fan of his riding or maybe it’s like a car crash - either way, you can’t look away. 


Ryan has been quite vocal in his disappointment at not receiving an X Games Big Air invitation. It seems that he feels his air-awareness on big jumps and the previously mentioned successes should have guaranteed him a spot in the sport’s premier event. But, should it? We’ve never seen him ride a big quarter. The Nitro ramp is a resi. There are limited spots in X Games. It just wouldn’t make sense to invite him, right?


Story of my life...???? #XGames

A post shared by Ryan Williams (@rwillyofficial) on


In my humble opinion, wrong. Very wrong. Invite him. Give him his shot. Here’s why - 

- For starters, it’s clear that Ryan is incredibility talented on his bike. It’s also clear that he genuinely wants to be a part of the X Games. Put those together and I’d be shocked to see anything less than a 100% balls-out effort that is going to result in some absolutely amazing riding or some sort of gnarly crash - you know, the stuff that keeps the general public watching… 

- If you look into Ryan’s riding, whether it’s on social media or other events he’s been a part of (Barcelona Extreme 2016 comes to mind), the guy can ride quarterpipes. Yeah, the giant beast in Big Air is something else, but it’s crazy to treat the situation as if he can only ride a straight jump (or a resi, at that). 

- The Mega Ramp takeoff is quite a bit mellower than those at Nitro World Games, but he’s already proven he can ride it via a rebel run at X Games Austin in 2015. Even if he crashed and burned on the quarter, which I find unlikely, what would go down on the jump would still make for some damn good television.


- Ryan has a massive social media following. Yeah, that SHOULDN’T matter, but let’s be honest here. It’s 2017. It does matter. Ryan has 845k followers on Instagram. That’s nearly double what Harry Main has racked up and, to the best of my knowledge, he’s the closest in BMX to Ryan’s massive number. More eyeballs on X Games, more eyeballs on BMX, more eyeballs on all of the other riders. This is a good thing. 


- And, to cap it all off, Ryan recently spent some time at Woodward East and rode their biggest quarters. The ramps aren’t as big as what he’d be facing in X Games and he didn’t exactly throw down any big tricks (on wood, at least), but this goes on to prove he’s more than capable. Who wouldn’t want to see a massive front flair on the Mega Ramp?


It’s exciting when a talented rider is passionate about something and wants to do big things. It's unfortunate when there isn't a qualifier or any other set path to bring these dreams to life. When I get my ballot to nominate riders for next year’s X Games, you can bet that Ryan Williams will be high on my list.

Create New Tag