X Games Minneapolis 2017 | We Speak to Garrett Reynolds, Coco Zurita and Daniel Sandoval About Success on the Big Stage

We speak to riders on the podium about what makes the X Games so damn special...

The X Games descended on Minneapolis in the United States last weekend for the first time ever – but while the venue might have changed from Austin, Texas for the first time since 2013, the action was as exciting as ever.

The 70,000 capacity U.S Bank Stadium – home to NFL franchise the Minnesota Vikings – was transformed into an action sports paradise with vert, dirt, street, bowls and more all packed in under one roof.

There were some new names on the medal list and plenty more familiar faces as the progression that has made the event such a staple in the scene continues to push it forward (the Games were even streamed live in virtual reality this year by Samsung).

“My first X Games was such a great experience and I loved it – even though I ended up breaking my leg. To make the podium now for the second time is amazing!”

13-year-old Brighton Zeuner became the youngest person to ever win an X Games gold medal in women’s skateboard park.

Vince Byron, the man who ended Jamie Bestwick’s record-setting streak of nine consecutive wins in BMX Vert in 2015 made Bestwick settle for silver again, with Coco Zurita coming in third to take his second X Games medal.

Garrett Reynolds took home yet another gold medal in BMX Street – his 10th since he first started competed in 2007 – and the legendary Bob Burnquist bowed out with his final run in the contest having first competed in 1995.

We caught up with Street winner Garrett, Vert bronze Coco and Daniel Sandoval, who took his fourth X Games medal with a third place finish in BMX Park, to talk about how it all went down.

Garrett Reynolds

2017: Gold in BMX Street

All-Time Record: 10 X Game golds, one silver

It’s very surreal to me, I grew watching X Games on TV with my family – mostly my brothers. Never in a million years did I think I’d end up in the contest, yet alone winning it.

X Games is always special to me. This one in particular was special because I wasn’t expecting to win when I first rode the street course. I was kind of struggling to get lines to work for me.

I’ll ride around the skatepark for about 15 minutes and then try a 45 second line to get my confidence going. Getting off to a good start and landing the first few tricks always calms the nerves and gets me to a point where I can shut my brain off and just ride.

Garrett Reynolds shows off his gold medal with second-placed Simone Barraco… Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Also, it’s cool to show my girlfriend I’m not a bum!

Sometimes I do feel extra pressure, especially when I hear the announcers talk about me. I always bring myself back to reality though. If I win or lose it doesn’t really matter to me, I just want to give it my all and if that isn’t enough then I can’t ask anything else of myself.

Right now all of my X Games medals are just sitting inside of some Nora Cups in my closet. My house doesn’t have lots of storage so this condenses my awards together and makes it so I don’t forget where they are! Ha!

Garrett Reynolds in action in the BMX Street finals Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

[To be called “the best BMX street rider ever”] is a compliment to say the least, and an honour anytime someone says that.

I never look at myself like that, which keeps me hungry to learn new tricks, film for more videos, and stay riding a lot. In my opinion the term “best” will always be subjective when you talk about athletes in sports.

We all have strengths and weaknesses – it’s all just an opinion of who you like, and there’s so many different styles and dudes to appreciate in BMX.

Coco Zurita

2017: Bronze in BMX Vert.

Record: One X Games silver, one bronze.

To make the podium for the second time at X Games feels amazing! I’m really happy and I feel blessed. It’s not like you can podium every year.

Nowadays it’s super hard because the level of the sport is growing and everyone’s getting so good. It’s getting so difficult that you need to figure out ways to change things up and put in the hard work.

Coco Zurita celebrated after throwing down his Vert run Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

I prepare for all events in the same way. Overall, you’re always striving for first place, to be the best, and to give the crowd the best performance that you have!

I think the main difference between any other event versus X Games is that it’s the biggest and most talked about event out there.

All communities come together – guys in moto, guys in skateboard, guys in BMX, megaramp, dirt jumps, park, vert. They all come together in one week, in one place, for one event. Not to mention it’s amazing to see people that you haven’t seen in years!

When it comes down to it we all have the same passion, same love, and put in the same hard work behind what we do, and it’s amazing, because it’s just a bunch of us pursuing the same dreams – just to be the best, learn new tricks, bring new levels to the sport and change the world in a way.

Coco Zurita flying high in Minneapolis… Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

My favourite part of riding bikes is the freedom you have to ride anytime, whatever, and whenever you want.

It’s always been my favourite part and still is. Also, the fact that you’re able to express yourself the way you want through your bicycle. It’s like art – similar to having paint and a canvas. You’re free of expression to create whatever you want.

Coco’s bronze was his second medal at the X Games… Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

My favourite X Games moment personally was when I got my first invitation to X Games in 2007. I was extremely happy and I really thought in my head that this might be the one and only time I’ll ever compete in X Games.

Who knows if I’ll ever have another chance, so I gave it my 110%. It was such a great experience and I loved it – even though I ended up breaking my leg because I tried too hard!

I have to say it was a great learning experience though. If I was in the same place again I wouldn’t change a thing. Actually… maybe I would try a little less harder to not break myself off!

Daniel Sandoval

2017: Bronze in BMX Park

Record: One X Games gold, three bronze.

It’s insane to even have one medal from X Games so I’m stoked to have a few of them! I keep them all hanging with the rest of my trophies.

Getting gold [in BMX Park in 2015] definitely helped me, but there’s a lot of hard work for me to be confident on my bike.

Daniel Sandoval goes hard in BMX Park… Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

X Games is the biggest event of the year for me and for the entire BMX community. As a rider X Games means so much more because of the history the event has.

The crowd plays a big factor in riding and for myself, but it’s only satisfying if you complete the run you want and the crowd gets stoked for you!

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