FINAL MEDAL FRENZY AT KIA WORLD EXTREME GAMES
Vince Byron does the double while Wilkins claims first ever win
Shanghai, Saturday 3rd May…Final day of action at the Kia World Extreme Games saw the athletes throw down some big moves on the bikes and boards, to close the Games with the spectacular action it is internationally renowned for.
Crowds of over 71,600 witnessed the world’s best action sports stars competing across four days on the Climbing Wall, Vert Ramp, Street Course and Mini-Mega Ramp. Added to the mix for the first time this year were the biggest names from Freestyle Motocross, adding another dimension to the fast and furious buzz around the KIC Jiangwan Sports Centre in the Yang Pu district of Shanghai.
The day began with a first-ever KWEG medal for 20 year old Kevin Peraza with some impressive tail whips, tooth picks and bar spins to give him the best two combined scores of the five finalists.
He said, “It’s amazing to come out on top of all my friends. This is so much fun for me, just taking care of myself; stay healthy, no injuries and its all good.”
When asked about the level of local talent he thinks it won’t be long until they are taking his spot on the podium saying, “There is an amazing park here and there is a tonne of talent here in China. It’s a worldwide sport and they are definitely going to be here on top in the next few years. They’ve all got motivation and they all love the sport like we do and I can definitely see an Asian, Chinese rider winning this event in the future for sure.”
Silver went to America’s Mykel Larrin, who felt the athletes performed at their best out there today. He explained, “I am excited. I woke up this morning with some good vibes. Everybody rode super hard today and the level of competition kept going up every single round so to finish with a medal, I am honoured and thankful.”
Another KWEG rookie was England’s Alex Kennedy who was “stoked” to do so well on his maiden outing here. “This is my first Extreme Games medal, it’s absolutely amazing, can’t believe it. I managed to get my whole run together and I combined my tricks. Being in China is so much fun, always something to look at, I love it,” he said.
It is almost a week since the world’s media watched the iconic Bund turn into a world class stunt location when Michael ‘Chucky’ Norris and Joel Brown launched the arrival of the Games to town with a spectacular display of Freestyle Motorcross. Six days on, both riders were on the podium after their four rounds of competition. The tiniest of margins separated Australian Norris from compatriot and silver medallist Pat Bowden, with Brown collecting Bronze. Just missing out on a medal was Tom Robinson who qualified in last place then rode his way up to fourth.
Robinson described the feeling of being in China for the first time saying, “It was the coolest feeling when I was flying through the air and I could hear the roar of the crowds below. It gave me goose bumps”.
Pedal power took a second step into the limelight today for the spectacular Mini-Mega competition for the BMX boys.
Vince Byron – who collected Gold on Thursday on the Vert – scored a 94 on his third round run on the Mini-Mega with a 360 down-whip superman sea crab on the gap followed by a 540 double tail whip on the quarter pipe, to secure a double-gold victory for the second year running and the crown of the Games’ most successful athlete this year.
“I knew Chad and Colton had more stuff in their bag so I was lucky enough to pull it and I was ecstatic. It’s great to get something on my first contest of the year. I’ll be competing against a lot of the guys that are here next month and it’s also given me insight into what I need to work on for the next competition.”
Chad Kagy of the US came in second, landing his third round run too, as did Calton Satterfield, who needed a bit of help from his buddy Peraza to keep him in the competition after he damaged his seat.
He explained, “I wrecked today on tricks I have already done in practice – he (Kevin) is a good friend of mine, he grabbed another seat for me and helped me out. That’s what BMX is about, you help each other.”
Looking at his medal he added, “It means a lot. The first time I came here I got fourth so it definitely feels better to be on the podium – that is where you get recognition for doing well. Every time I come here the people here are so awesome. I didn’t grow up knowing that China has such a following and every time we come here they are the nicest people ever.”
Mat Hoffman, event ambassador and chief judge for the BMX competition summed up the week for the riders saying, “Everyone loves this event. It is really friendly and the athletes get well looked after so they can focus on their performance. It is their favourite event all year. It’s all about the flow and competing to your best ability.”
The final medals of the Games belonged to the skateboarders as they wrapped things up on the Vert. Andy Macdonald collected his second medal of the competition – adding a bronze to his silver on Mini-Mega and Rony Gomes of Brazil was delighted to be taking a medal home (silver) to keep up his winning streak in Shanghai.
Gomes said, “Last year I got third in Mini-Mega and second in Vert but I think this year I was skating better so I really wanted to get a podium and thank God it came. I am really happy. I have been practicing a lot, training a lot; skating a lot and I made my run today. Congrats to Andy and Jimmy, I am just so happy to be here.”
The Gold went to an overwhelmed Jimmy Wilkins with the medal marking his first ever win in a skateboard competition. Wilkins is the skaters’ skater, pushing progression and innovation in vertical skateboarding – attributes that title sponsor Kia are synonymous with.
“This is my first win ever, in anything, so I am in a bit of shock right now. It was best run counted and I only made my first run so I am glad I got it. I decided just to go for it.”
As for veteran Macdonald, his enthusiasm for the trip to China is still at an all-time high, after eight years. “I can’t complain going home with a bronze and silver and I can’t wait to come back.”
This year’s judges also recognised the outstanding performances of the Asian athletes with special mentions being given to Gold medalists Takeshi Yasutoko (Inline Vert) from Japan and Indonesia’s Abudzar Yulianto (Men’s Speed Climbing).
Extreme Sports. Extreme Action. Extreme Entertainment.
Recap of all medallists for the 2014 Kia World Extreme Games:
|Women Speed Climbing
||Tamara Kusnetsova (KZA)
||Tita Supita (INA)
||Alina Gaidamakina (RSA)
||Soichiro Kanashima (JPN)
||Yuto Goto (JPN)
|Men Speed Climbing
||Asper Jaelolo (INA)
||Sergei Sinitcyn (RSA)
||Abudzar Yulianto (INA)
||Vince Byron (AUS)
||Dennis McCoy (USA)
||Simon Tarbon (GBR)
||Trey Wood (USA)
||Andy Macdonald (USA)
||Jono Schwan (USA)
||Takeshi Yasutoko (JPN)
||Eito Yasutoko (JPN)
||Nikolaj Najdenov (BLG)
||Ryo Sejiri (JPN)
||Jagger Eaton (USA)
||Jordan Hoffart (USA)
||Kevin Peraza (USA)
||Mykel Larrin (USA)
||Alex Kennedy (GBR)
||Michael Norris (AUS)
||Pat Bowden (AUS)
||Joel Brown (AUS)
||Vince Byron (AUS)
||Chad Kagy (USA)
||Colton Satterfield (USA)
||Jimmy Wilkins (USA)
||Rony Gomes (BRA)
||Andy Macdonald (USA)
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