../events/1996 X-Games

Sources: BMX Plus! october 1996, SNAP #12 september 1996, Ride BMX UK october 1998, Freedom october 1996, ...
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Date: 1996
Place: Newport, Rhode Island.
The Hoffman Sports Association (HSA) was brought in to handle the BMX portion.

For the second year running, ESPN successfully pulled off the ultimate in sports events, bringing together more than 400 of the world's more unusual athletes for seven days of pushing their machines, minds and mettle over the edge at the 1996 ESPN X Games. Several defending champions from last year's;s inaugural Extreme Games showed up to defend their titles against adrenaline junkies from across the globe. They rocked the streets (and waterways) of Rhode Island in nine event categories (biking, bungy jumping, eco-challenge, in-line skating, sport climbing, skateboarding, skysurfing, street luge and water sports) and drew hundreds of thousands of psyched fans to each venue.

Mark Losey, BMX Plus! october 1996: The ESPN X Games has turned into the biggest event in freestyle. This year, I scored a spot on the judging panel so I got to see all the action &Mac222;rst-hand. I have judged contests before but I learned one important thing about judging the X Games real quickly: no matter what tricks any of the riders do, the crowd wants the guy who does the most back&Mac223;ips to win—and they will boo like mad and throw food at the judges if we didn't agree. There is no way I could tell you about every crazy trick that happened in Rhode Island, but I will try to point out some of the biggest highlights of the week. Luckily, the contest is going to be shown all year on ESPN and ESPN2. so everyone with a TV set will get a chance to see all of the action.

Mark Losey, BMX Plus! october 1996: ESPN showed a lot of riding on TV, but there were a bunch of other things happening during the week that never made it on the air. Here are a few examples.
- All of the competitors in the X Games stayed in dorms at local colleg . This was cool because you could hang with your friends and do whatever u wanted, whenever you wanted. It also had its drawbacks. Feel like having a drunken soccer game in the halls at four in the morning ? Go for it. Want to see how many times you can slam your door at 3 a.m. ? Give it a try. Needless to say, there was not too much sleeping going on. There free video games and a giant TV at the dorms, so at least you had something to do when you weren't sleeping.
- During one crazy party in the dorms, one rider got a little too out of control and wound up being banned from the Games.
- Once you made it to the Games, the free goods started &Mac223;owing your way. Nike hooked up every participant with over $150 worth of shoes and clothes, and everyone also walked home with a remote control car and a Monopoly game. Food was provided for the entire week so riders could actually make it through the week without spending a dime.

Mark Losey, BMX Plus! october 1996: Anyone who thinks that freestyle has "sold out" by getting involved in the X-Games could not be further from the truth. All week long ESPN treated the freestylers with the same respect as they do professional baseball players. Whenever riders had suggestions, ESPN listened. When the Games were over, bike riders had won $30,000 in prize money and received so much coverage on ESPN that sponsorship doors must be swinging wide open all over the world. I think ESPN did a great job with this year's Games, and plans are already underway for next year's event (possibly in San Diego, CA). Don't miss it.
1996 x-games park
Street course.

rob nolli 1996 x-games park
Rob Nolli.

joey garcia 1996 x-games dirt suicide no hander
Joey Garcia.

www.dailymotion.com/benbmx, march 2009: BMX dirt aux Xgames 1996 avec TJ Lavin, Taj Mihelich, Kris Benett, Jay Miron, Joe Rich, Joey Garcia, Tim "Fuzzy" Hall .
Mark Losey, BMX Plus! october 1996: The first event of the week was street and the stands were packed. Rob Nolli made GT proud by staying consistent (i.e., going to the top tube on tailwhips), ending his last run by pulling the flip transfer into the spine that broke his leg at the last contest. Third place and $1600 for Nolli. Jay Miron had a few problems in his first two runs, but then he went completely ballistic in his third run. Jay pulled a perfect truckdriver-to-no-footer over the box and instantly sprinted across the course and jumped the biggest gap of the week. Jay probably pulled more tricks in his last run than anyone else but when all three runs were averaged out, Jay went home with second-place cash. First place went to a flowing Dave Mirra. When Dave drops in for a run and hits his first few tricks, he gets in a groove where he is simply unstoppable. Dave was flowing around making up lines as he went during his runs and he pulled a sick alley-oop-to nose-wheelie on one quarterpipe as well as an alleyoop-to-toothpick grind. Give Dave first place and a big interview on live TV.

Mark Losey, BMX Plus! october 1996: Rob Nolli was on fire during his street runs, and to help put out the fire, Rob was planning to jump from the box jump into the water next to it for his last trick. ESPN said that anyone hitting the water would be kicked out for the week, but then TonyHawk did it on a skateboard and ESPN Ioved it. Go figure.

Press release: Dave Mirra topped his second-place performance in the stunt vert to snare the gold in the stunt street competition with a score of 96.27. Jay Miron took second with 94.93, followed by Rob Nolli of Orlando, FL, with 93.33.

STREET RESULTS: 1-Dave Mirra (Haro) 2-Jay Miron (Schwinn) 3-Rob Nolli (GT/Dyno) 4-Joe Rich (Standard) 5-Mike Escamilla (HB) 6)Rob Sigaty 7)Dave Osato 8)Colin Winkelman
The X-Games were delivered to over 10 million households in the US and 17,000 spectators showed up in person to check out the dirt jumping. The riders had to clear two sets but only scored on the second. Because of the general intimidation (and high injury rate) of the massive Dirt jumps, the event favored those riders who specialized in Dirt. As a result, the top positions all went to BMX racers.
Steve Swope, TWBMX november 2004: We had to build the X Games dirt jump in 1996 and ESPN asked for a materials list. Outside of how much dirt we needed, shovels, and everything else, I put down eight sticks of dynamite, a 40-galLon drum of diesel fuel, and a trash can full of cold ones every night at five. About a week later, the director of competition called me up and said, 'Hey, no problem, everything looks good, but I think we'll have a pretty hard time getting you dynamite.' He took it seriously and I just started laughing.

Press release: Joey Garcia, a former "King of Dirt" took first without ever resorting to a backflip (he did harder, but less flashy -at least to the crowd.tricks), but let the audience know who they were dealing with by boldly taking a "victory run" after his win -and landing a perfect loop. Second place went to Las Vegas native T.J. Lavin, and premier racer Brian Foster took third.

AA Pro Robbie Morales who got bucked, overshot the set, crashed, and broke his collarbone. His crash made all of ESPN's highlight shows.

Specialized's TJ Lavin qualified first by pulling a perfect backflip over the trick set. The crowd loved it, ESPN loved it, and the judges gave it their highest score in qualifying. Flips remainded the crowd favourite in the finals and so did Lavin.
T.J. Lavin, Ride BMX UK october 1998: I was real new. Fresh blood, I didn't know what to do on TV. You don't realise you gonna have to watch that shit later. You do a lot of crazy stuff, act real stupid but it was a really good time. I was 19 and in the running for the win. (...) That last flip in the contest was gonna be a no-handed flip, I'd learnt it that week. As soon as I went into the air I knew I'd blown it. I thought maybe I'd still won.

DIRT RESULTS: 1-Joey Garcia $3000; 2-TJ Lavin $ 2200 3-Brian Foster (Schwinn) $1600; 4-Jay Miron (Schwinn) $1200; 5-Jimmy Levan (S&M) $800; 6-Kris Bennet (S&M) $600; 7-(tie) Vaun Stout (TNT) $300; 7-(tie) Tim Fuzzy Hall $300; 9-Taj Mihelich

Mark Losey, BMX Plus! october 1996: The dirt-jumping contest probably drew the largest crowd of the X Games and it was well deserved. This year the riders had to clear a set of 28-foot doubles before they even reached the 21-foot set that they were being judged on, so this contest was a trailrider's dream. Brian Foster showed up wearing a new full-face helmet and took third after pulling tricks like a super-stylish truckdriver for his last jump. T.J. Lavin was leading the event. but when he did a backfiip for both his fourth and fifth jump, he was relegated to second. First place went to Joey Garcia, who pulled every jump he tried. including an awesome full-barspin straight into a cranked x-up—all while riding with some seriously bruised ribs.
After the results were announced, the crowd started booing like mad. The audience loves the loop, and since TJ. came through with two in a row, they were sure that he deserved the win—especially since the kid who got first never even went upside down. Right about this time Garcia came to the rescue by going out and doing a backfiip just to prove that he could. After that the crowd cooled off a little, but most of us judges changed clothes before leaving the judging tower just to be sure we weren't recognized.
Mark Losey, BMX Plus! october 1996: Vert was the last bike event of the week, and it was run a day early due to a rainy forecast for the next day. The media was in a feeding frenzy over Matt Hoffman all week because he had broken his foot in Street practice but was still planning to ride vert. Matt modified his shoe with a piece of masonite and a steel spike (?), and his shoe wound up being on TV so much that it looked like a giant Boks commercial. Jay Miron was out of the contest due to a messed-up leg from the dirt comp, but there were still plenty of awesome riders in the contest. When the contest started. the first rider to catch the judges‘ eyes was England's Jamie Bestwick. Jamie was doing tricks from his first air to his last, and they were all at good height—including his 540s. Jason Davies, another English rider, was also going off pulling the most stretched cancans since Hoffman in '88. lt looked like the only two Americans who were going to place in the top four were Hoffman and Mirra. Mirra's bars bent during his first run and he had to stick them into the coping to bend them back before he could ride again, and Matt... well, you know Hoffman. Big airs, stretched variations and a few more close-ups of his shoe, please. When it came time for the last run, things looked like this: Bestvvick was raging but seemed to be repeating his first run again. Hoffman was leading the points, but Mirra had a slight chance to take the lead if he could pull off the run of his life—and he almost did. Dave uncorked an eight-foot 540, a ten-foot Indian air and tons of other tricks, but when the final scores were announced, it wasn't enough. Matt took first, Mirra second, Bestwick third and Davies fourth.

Though he broke his left foot in three places during Street practice, Hoffman did a "MacGyver" on his shoe by shoving metal strips through the sole and rode Vert anyway. He won the Vert title for the second year running, barely edging out Dave Mirra, who again took second place for the second year running.

VERT RESULTS: 1-Matt Hoffman (HB) 2-Dave Mirra (Haro) 3-Jamie Bestwick (Haro) 4-Jason Davies (KHE) 5-Dave Osato (Schwinn) 6-Alex Reinke (Heavy Tools) 7)Rick Thorne 8)Alex Reinke