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April 7, 2010

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Daredevils go to extremes

THE world's best extreme sports athletes will compete in Asia's premier extreme sporting event where a new three-story ramp will be unveiled and spectators can rock and roll. Fei Lai reports.

An international extreme sports extravaganza, plus pop concerts, will be held from May 27 to 30, attracting around 200 athletes from 31 countries and regions to Shanghai's KIC Jiangwan Sports Center in Yangpu District.

The 2010 KIA X-Games Asia, in its fourth year in the city, will showcase the new mini-MegaRamp, unveiled for the first time to the public.

The monumental structure is more than three stories high and longer than two basketball courts. International action sports athletes will demonstrate some never-before-seen maneuvers on the ramp.

The event is organized by Shanghai Media Group (SMG), ESPN STAR Sports' Event Management and the Shanghai Sports Federation.

The KIA X-Games Asia is regarded as the premier extreme sports event in the region.

Among the X-games medalists confirmed to compete are eight-time gold medallist Andy Macdonald, six-time gold medallist Bucky Lasek and five-time gold medallist Pierre-Luc Gagnon on the skateboard, as well as four-time gold medallist Kevin Robinson and eight-time medallist Simon Tabron for the BMX freestyle events.

The Yasutoko brothers Eito and Takeshi, a popular draw among Asian fans, return to demonstrate their skill in the aggressive in-line vert.

"Coinciding with the renewal of our title sponsorship with KIA Motors, the KIA X-Games Asia promises to be the biggest and most exciting edition we have seen to date," says Harvey Davis, ESPN STAR Sports vice president for event management.

"With the new mini-Mega-Ramp competition, a new double-sized vert ramp and a spectacular list of world-class athletes in all competitions competing for an increased prize purse, we are taking this iconic sports event to new heights together with our sponsors," he says. "We look forward to showcasing another exhilarating event to action sport fans in Shanghai."

Prize money has been increased from US$130,000 last year to US$150,000 this year.

In addition to the mini-MegaRamp, this year's event will feature the aggressive in-line (vert and street), skateboard (vert and street), BMX freestyle (vert and street) and Moto X-freestyle demonstrations (including Big Air).?

The event last year attracted more than 141,200 visitors to Shanghai. Spectators numbered a record 54,500.

In addition, the aggressive in-line, skateboard and BMX freestyle street events will feature a new "jam session" format that will raise competitive levels and heighten the thrills.

In this program, athletes will make as many attempts as time permits over various course features and obstacles to score points during the elimination rounds and the final - this will take the place of consecutive runs.

The event will be staged in a festive atmosphere with concerts and dance performances, as well as interactive games, for which prizes will be awarded.

Well-known pop singer Wang Xiaokun will be the event ambassador, performing the theme song "Round and Round."

The bands Crystal Butterfly and Black New Ne will perform, as well as Andrew Zhi-Lin Cheung and Miki Dan Tang.

Tickets: 120 yuan per day for adults; 50 yuan per day for students; 240 yuan per day for family package (two adults and one student)

Tel: 962-388

X-Game Events

BMX freestyle

Freestyle, or bicycle stunt riding, evolved from BMX (bicycle motocross) racing in the early 1980s.

Racing has been around since the 1970s, and the first official BMX heavy-duty bike frames replaced the traditional modified Stingrays in 1973.

In 1983, the first exclusively freestyle bikes came off the production line. By 1984 some of the first freestyle competitions were held in skate parks.

By 1986 sponsorship began pouring into freestyle. Throughout the 1970s racing grew in popularity until it became a sizeable, established sport.


The surfboard is the father of the skateboard. During the late 1950s and into the 1960s, American surfing music and movies fueled the trend. Kids began to look for ways to recreate the feeling of riding a wave on land. Soon they were experimenting with surfboard-like designs.

The first commercial skateboard, the Roller Derby, hit stores in 1959. Key advances in the sport included the aerial, the invert and the Ollie, which may be the single most important trick in the evolution of skateboarding, next to the kick-turn.

Aggressive in-line

The basic idea for in-line roller skates has been around for about 300 years, when a 17th-century Dutchman tried to simulate ice skating in the summer by nailing wooden spools to strips of wood and attaching them to his shoes.

In 1995 the first ESPN Extreme Games were held in Newport, Rhode Island, in the United States. This meant the spot went mainstream and received worldwide media attention. Then came a boom in sponsorship for professional skaters. Today in-line skating ranks as the fifth-largest participatory sport in the US.

Moto X

Motocross racing was born in Europe after World War II and has grown into a global phenomenon as well as an integral part of America's passion for motor sports.

Motocross burst into the scene in the 1980s, became more mainstream in the 1990s and was added to the X-games roster in 1999. It is famous for Big Air, also known as Best Trick, in which each rider gets three jumps - usually 18 meters or more - from a dirt-covered ramp. It will become one of the highlights of the 2010 KIA X-Games Asia.


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