SALT LAKE CITY – The finals are set for the 2017 Nitro World Games, with more than 40 of the world’s best action sports athletes in FMX, BMX, skate, and scooter advancing to the main event in Salt Lake City, to be broadcast on NBC Saturday, June 24, at 8 ET / 7 CT / 8 PT, and streamed live online at NitroWorldGames.Live. The winners from last year’s events were invited directly to the finals, and today at Rice-Eccles Stadium five semifinal events determined who would attempt to dethrone the returning champions on Saturday. The complete list of qualifiers is below, along with the video highlights.
The day started with BMX Best Tricks, arguably the most exciting competition in 2016. Dawid Godziek topped a seriously stacked field with some big tricks, including a 720 frontflip tuck no-hander. Godziek came out of nowhere in qualifiers in May and has the form to be a contender for the podium tomorrow. In skate Beaver Fleming (pictured above) led the pack, sticking a 360 body varial and his signature Tennessee Tornado — a frontside cork 720 Christ air, named after a roller coaster in his home state. Clinton Moore (pictured below) topped the Freestyle Motocross semifinal with a solid technical run in a contest where five riders landed frontflips, a trick virtually unheard of in FMX just a few years ago.
Much like the BMX Triple Hit qualifier, the semifinals were all about bangers, and Alex Coleborn, who made the podium with a third-place finish last year, had the best run of the day, though he finished only .04 points ahead of Nick Bruce. Both athletes had huge runs and are primed to challenge for the podium tomorrow.
Arguably the most intense competition of the night came in the Scooter Best Tricks semifinal, where Nolan Shoemaker scored the highest, anchored by a lights-out triple backflip. It was a close contest overall, and ended with a bit of drama as Corey Funk, last year’s third-place finisher, was sitting in eighth place ahead of his final run. He needed only a couple points to move into a qualifying position, but he opted to go for an enormous ramp transfer, landing clean across a giant gap onto the skate lander. Unfortunately, the judges weren’t as pumped about the move as everyone else watching, and the result was a missed opportunity for Corey, but it was probably worth it, to be honest.
It wasn’t a good year to be a returning podium finisher, as the only two trophy winners competing today that made it through again this year were Josh Sheehan (second-place in FMX last year) and Coleborn. That means we’re guaranteed to see a different mix of athletes on the podiums this year, and with the quality of the riding so far, we’re bound to witness some of the biggest tricks of the year. Make sure you tune in for all the action as it happens.
William Van Den Putte