Feature Article

A Sign of Great Things to Come: Women’s Park at X Games

May 18 2013- The rain clouds dispersed, the stands filled with excited fans, the global live stream began and Tony Hawk took the mic. The inaugural women’s park event at X Games was ready to start. The women of the transition skating world were all smiles and high-fives, overjoyed to have the opportunity to showcase their forte.

The diverse lineup included Mimi Knoop, Alana Smith, Nora Vasconcellos, Julie Kindstrand, Elissa Steamer, Leticia Bufoni, Lizzie Armanto, Allysha Bergado, Karen Jonz and local Ianire Elorriaga.

Despite the frequent downpours, the group had a good grasp of the park by contest time. The park’s design offered a variety of transitions and features: The smaller section was complete with a bank wall, escalator, clam shell, extension with a doorway, and a twinkie with kickers on the flat top. Even the deck offered a few little trannies and skateable tiki towers. The deep end was complete with a bit of vert lined with pool coping and tile.

The locals were excited to have a representative from their home town in the contest. Ianire Elorriaga. The announcement of her name earned her a thunder of cheers as Castillians expressed their gratitude at having the opportunity to host the X Games.

It was a treat to see the diversity that Elissa Steamer and Leticia Bufoni brought to the park venue. They both floated ollies on multiple walls and hips between tricks. Elissa threw a b-s 5-0 over the doorway and Leticia used the edge of the kicker on the sushi dish as a grind box.

During practice, Karen held nothing back. She threw down consistent lein tailslides over the door, fingerflips and back tails on the bank. She even figured out back smiths over the doorway in the rain. Unfortunately, contest jitters sometimes get the best of us and Karen couldn’t hang onto her runs and missed out on making the finals.

Allysha Bergado - fs air during warm ups
Allysha Bergado – fs air during warm ups

Allysha truly stepped up during the contest. She held back in practice but once she was on the clock she flowed into big corner airs, inverts, and bonelesses on the bank. She even pulled a lein air over the doorway out of nowhere. It is great to see that she has fully recovered from the car accident that took her out of the running of the Combi Classic.

Nora Vasconcellos - inspecting the place during warm ups
Nora Vasconcellos – inspecting the place during warm ups

Nora skated the course with speed and grace. She boosted her beautiful backside airs and frontside ollies in the deep. Unfortunately, she couldn’t fit her bs air disasters, gaytwists or tailslides into her runs during the finals and missed the podium by two, getting 5th place.

Mimi Knoop
Mimi Knoop

Mimi Knoop also made an incredible comeback. Despite the nerve damage that kept her off of her board for months, her bag of tricks was as consistent as ever. She stuck long runs complete with big bonelesses on the bank wall, eggplants, fastplants and airs in the deep.

Julz Lynn skated her heart out. She approached each wall with ferocity and power and linked together creative lines. Julz pulled fs airs to tail over tricky hips, frontside 50-50s on the clam shell and decked rock n’ rolls on the tiki extensions.

Alana Smith has a huge bag of tricks. Her runs included blunt to fakies, big kickflip fakies on the bank, kickflips over the sushi kicker gap, disasters in tricky spots and airs in every direction. After putting in a solid run at the beginning of finals, Alana was intent on landing a McTwist. The rest of her runs were also full of technical tricks scattered throughout the course but ended in McTwist attempts. With each try, she completed the rotation perfectly to a storm of roars and stomps from the crowd. Although she couldn’t quite ride it away, her first run secured her spot as the youngest person to ever earn an X Games medal.

 Lizzie Armanto - freakin' egg man!
Lizzie Armanto – freakin’ egg man!

Lizzie flowed beautifully through the course. She made tricks like fs smiths through corners, airs over the doorway and board slides on the bank look as though they required no effort. She made her way up to bs disasters up on the sushi dish and truly used the entire course. Her graceful fs inverts and lien to tails linked by creative lines earned Lizzie a much-deserved gold medal.

The response from the attentive crowd coupled with the social media responses show that women’s transition skating has a loyal base of followers. The level of support and excitement around the event suggests that this event was only the start of great things to come.

As the amount of concrete parks continues to grow and the eyes of future generations are opened through the exposure of females skating today, the level and participation rate will increase exponentially. This is only the beginning.

Lizzie Armanto - Flowin it
Lizzie Armanto – Flowin it
 Thumbs up from Mimi!
Thumbs up from Mimi!

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