Friday night is always one of the most exciting of the X Games weekend. While there are always a few competitions on Thursday each year, Friday typically marks the first real day of X Games. This year was no different, beginning with a full slate of action at 4:00 PM with the Next X Skateboard competitions.
The Next X competitions showcase the top amateur skateboarders competing on the same course as the pros do. They have both Park & Street competitions, and the field is made up entirely of the next generation of competitors in this sport, typically all under the age of 15.
After finishing fourth in Next X Skateboard Park last year and taking 6th at the Vans Combi Bowl pro division back in May, Tate Carew took the top spot. Japanese skater Daiki Ikeda, whose older brother Daisuke is competing in the pro discipline, took the top spot in Next X Skateboard Street.
Next up was the Women’s Skateboard Park Final, a competition that takes place in a unique, transition-based concrete bowl course. In the youngest field in X Games history, Women’s Skateboard Park was won by 13-year-old X Games rookie, Misugu Okamoto, who also took first place in the Road to X Games: Boise Park Qualifier in June.
Okamoto’s run included a backside 360 over the center feature, boneless, a varial air, backside Smith grind over the door, frontside air, alley-oop body jar, a mute 540 and a rail slide. Silver medalist Cocona Hiraki also made history, becoming the youngest female X Games competitor and the youngest medalist in X Games history, male or female. Lizzie Armanto took bronze, her third X Games medal.
After wrapping up the skateboarding competitions for the day, it was only a few two-wheeled events, starting with The Real Cost BMX Big Air event. The Big Air competition features eight BMX athletes dropping in on a 50-65 foot-high roll-in, hitting a kicker ramp launching them over a 50-foot gap, hopefully landing safely while pulling off some sort of trick in the process, before then being thrust into the air on a 27-foot quarterpipe to do another trick.
In short, it’s fucking insane.
After a miss on his first run, two-time gold medalist Ryan Williams threw down an insane second run featuring a backflip off the start of The Real Cost BMX Big Air. His winning run featured a nothing bike flip over the gap and a frontflip flair on the quarterpipe. Fan-favorite Morgan Wade took silver, using his final run to hit the ramp with his friend and fellow competitor Mykel Larrin. Aussie Vince Byron took bronze, his second medal of the weekend after taking gold in Pacifico BMX Vert Thursday night at The Armory.
After that ridiculous event finished, we were onto a couple of Moto X competitions with the Quarterpipe and Freestyle events to finish the night.
Up-and-coming Australian rider Corey Creed took his first X Games gold in Moto X QuarterPipe, reaching a height of more than 32 feet. Americans Tyler Bereman, also competing in Harley-Davidson Hooligan Racing this weekend, and Colby Raha rounded out the podium.
The Australians closed out the night, sweeping the Moto X Freestyle podium with Rob Adelberg leading the charge. Continuing his streak, Adelberg earned his eighth medal in nine competitions. After eight starts in the Freestyle discipline, Adelberg finally earned his first gold with a run that included three different front flips including a front-flip nacnac and a front flip no hander. Josh Sheehan and Jackson Strong rounded out the podium.
After competition concluded at U.S. Bank Stadium, fans headed to The Armory to see performances by Minneapolis-native P.O.S and legendary East Coast rap group Wu-Tang Clan.
P.O.S. kicked things off with a welcomed encore to a jam-packed day of action sports. Winning over the ever-growing audience with a commanding stage presence, P.O.S. displayed his rapping prowess, flowing seamlessly over a wide spectrum of production including better-known songs like “Sleepdrone/Superposition” and “Gravedigger”.
The energy in the room crescendoed throughout P.O.S.’ rapturous set, igniting a fervor that did not let up for the rest of the evening. Opening for hip-hop legends is usually a daunting task, but not for P.O.S, as he engaged the crowd throughout, setting the stage for The Armory’s main event.
After a changeover that included what felt like a few impromptu performances by rappers no one has ever heard of, Wu-Tang Clan took the stage and performed a rousing 90-minute set to a packed house. Classics like “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Bring Da Ruckus” and full posse cuts including “Protect Ya Neck” and “Triumph,” had generations of fans enthralled, injecting further energy into an action-packed evening.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Wu-Tang performed Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) in its entirety, sprinkling in some other album cuts and stand-out songs from various solo members own albums.
Joining the eight original members was Young Dirty Bastard, son of the legendary and tragically deceased member ODB, who impressed the crowd with uncanny renditions of his father’s hits like “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” His performances were one of the biggest highlights of the evening.
Wu-Tang closed their set with fan-favorite “Triumph,” confirming their status as one of the most iconic acts in the history of hip-hop, and providing another reminder that they are indeed “nothing to fuck with.”