With Fields Set, Competitors Weigh in on Who to Watch in 2017
By Charley Daniels
We are one month away from the finals of the 2017 Nitro World Games, which will go down on June 24 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, to be broadcast live on NBC. Last week the first official competition runs were landed during the qualifiers for Scooter Best Tricks (results and video here), Freestyle Motocross (results and video here), BMX Triple Hit (results and video here), BMX Best Tricks (results and video here), and Skate Best Tricks (results and video here). The semifinals will take place June 23, narrowing the field by half before the main event. Coming out of qualifiers, the semifinalist field was almost set, but Wildcard slots remained unfilled for FMX, both BMX events, and Scooter. Now we can officially announce that the invites have been sent and the fields are almost finalized for these events as well.
Adam Jones and Libor Podmol have officially been invited to the FMX semifinals. Jai Walker and Nolan Shoemaker have been invited to fill the two remaining Scooter Best Tricks slots. For BMX Best Tricks, Todd Meyn and Colton Satterfield have been invited to advance. And in BMX Triple Hit, Jake Leiva and Mike Varga are through. These athletes were chosen by the independent competition committee based on their assessment of each rider's overall skill level and ability to succeed as the competition progresses.
Now that the semifinal fields are almost fully set, the athletes headed to Salt Lake City can start to focus on the progression that has become synonymous with the NWG. Even in practice athletes were landing World First tricks, so clearly the word is out that to win this thing you should consider attempting something that's never been landed before. The athletes are also weighing in on who they think are the competitors to watch this year. BMX superstar Brandon Schmidt, Scooter World Champion Jordan Clark, and BMX legend Jaie Toohey are among several athletes keeping their eye on Ryan Williams, who won BMX Best Tricks last year and also competed in Scooter Best Tricks -- the only athlete in the entire field who's competing in multiple disciplines. He's already set for the finals in BMX Best Tricks and has a slot in the semifinals for Scooter Best Tricks this year.
Toohey also mentions Jones as someone to watch in 2017. A slight miscue last year left him short of the podium, even though many experts agreed he would have been a serious contender if he hadn't been docked on a technicality. Up-and-coming FMX superstar Harry Bink says Josh Sheehan and Levi Sherwood are two of the FMX riders he's keeping his eye on. Sheeny was the only athlete last year to make two podiums -- for FMX and FMX Best Trick.
On the Triple Hit side, Brandon Loupos, who will be competing in both BMX events this year, says returning Champion Colton Walker and returning runner-up Logan Martin are still the two to beat -- but, he says, don't discount Nick Bruce, Kyle Baldock, or Daniel Sandoval. BMX veteran Brian Fox also mentions Walker as someone to watch. Triple Hit had by far the most qualifiers vying for a spot in the semifinals, so the competition was fierce and the field is absolutely stacked.
Those are just a few of the stories we're watching with a month to go before the competition. Don't forget to mark your calendars for June 24, get your tickets right here, and stay tuned to our site and all our coverage to get you up to speed on all things Nitro World Games for the next month.