If there’s one word I heard thrown around more than any other during the Nitro World Games, it was “progression”. Years from now, if you look at the timeline of action sports history, there will be a mark at July 16, 2016. This date will be remembered as the day Travis Pastrana, Mike Porra, and dozens of dedicated athletes from all over the world changed the face of action sports.
Imagine if you took the best Olympic events, opened qualifying to anyone that signed up, and made scoring easy to follow. Then it was all wrapped up into a single night’s live show, and broadcast on TV. Seven gold medals handed out in three hours of non-stop action. That’s the Nitro World Games.
In addition to freestyle motocross, skateboarding, and BMX, there were also inline skating and scooter competitions. The latter four all used the same 50 foot Giganta Ramp for some big air. FMX riders had the option to knock out tricks over a 120 foot gap. And to say that they all took advantage of the venue would be an understatement. Tricks which didn’t get some riders to the finals would have won them a gold a few years ago. For BMX, the triple back-flip has become a standard. In FMX, we saw the double back-flip more than once.
While the ramps are getting bigger or steeper, and the tricks are getting crazier, safety is not overlooked. At “Pastranaland”, Travis fine-tunes jumps and landing ramps, as well as airbag setups. This is all done to make sure that athletes can push their limits, and still land safely. The danger is still there, no doubt. But riders can make the most of their air time, knowing even if they don’t nail the landing, they’re safer than ever. With NBC broadcasting the Nitro World Games live, this keeps it prime-time friendly too.
Thanks to their new scoring format, fans (and athletes) only had to glance up at the Rice-Eccles Stadium’s giant screens to see who was in the lead. Those screens would switch from the leader board to replays, so fans never missed a run. And they always knew where their favorite rider stood. I think this made things much easier to follow, and a lot more exciting too, as it all happened in real-time.
The Nitro World Games is everything action sports needs right now. From the open entry, to innovation in ramps and safety, to the scoring, it’s a huge change for the better. They’re an outlet for the world’s top extreme athletes to showcase their skills and compete for prize money. Spectators get to see dozens of tricks they have never seen before. All of this in one action-packed show. Truly, we are seeing a progression of the industry. Mike and Travis are giving back to the fans and the athletes. They have succeeded in pushing all the limits, and bringing us a show like no other. Everyone wins. Well, almost everyone. Click here for the top three in each category.