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Day Two | X Games Japan 2022
Lewis Mills Strikes Gold on Day 2 of X Games Chiba 2022
Doing it big in Japan! Saturday showcased the biggest day of competitions at X Games Chiba 2022. Monster Energy athletes claimed medals in key events across BMX, Moto X, and Skateboard disciplines.
The biggest news of the day saw 23-year-old Australian team rider Lewis Mills clinching the gold medal in the competitive BMX Street final. Overall, the team took home five medals (1 gold, 1 silver, and 3 bronze) on day two of X Games Chiba 2022.
As it stands, team Monster Energy now owns 7 overall medals across three disciplines in the first edition of the action sports showcase contested in Japan.
Here’s how the action unfolded at X Games Chiba 2022 on Day 2:
As nighttime settled over Tokyo Bay, the BMX Street final unfolded under the spotlights on Saturday night. The eight finalists hailed from only four countries: Australia, Great Britain, Nigeria, and the United States.
Designed in the style of origami artwork to celebrate the host country, the progressive street course challenged riders with a plethora of handrails, stair sets, gaps, banks, and quarterpipes. Going into the contest, the rider to beat was reigning champ and 14-time X Games gold medalist Garrett Reynolds from the United States.
But past achievements mattered little on Saturday. Especially with young guns like Monster Energy’s Lewis Mills from Terrey Hills, Australia, in the mix. As the final session heated up, so did Mills and his trick selection.
The high-energy crowd was on its feet as Mills strung together creative manual and grind combos across the course. On his first run, Mills built the foundation for a strong score by landing a barspin to double peg grind to manual to toothpick hanger out. Other highlights included tailwhip over the hip, bar spin on the quarter pipe extension, truck driver air through the origami swan kicker, double peg grind up the big rail to hardway 360 out, peg grind bar spin out, and crooked grind to 180.
As Scottish Monster Energy team rider Alex Donnachie from Perthshire took over the lead, Mills fired back by increasing the difficulty. The Australian followed up by landing an overcrook to bar spin, and a combo featuring crooked grind to barspin to manual to crooked grind 180 out, followed by a manual to 180 before the buzzer. When all was said and done, Mills secured the lead that would hold until the end of the session for his first X Games gold medal.
“It’s so insane to win! You don’t even picture it, you just hypothetically think how cool it would be. And then it actually happens,” said Monster Energy’s Mills upon winning BMX Street gold in Chiba. “My strategy was to land my run. I had a run… I just wasn’t sure that I was going to land it. That’s it!”
Mills now owns two medals in BMX Street (1 gold, 1 silver). He earned his first X Games medal as a rookie in 2018 at X Games Sydney.
The BMX action continued, and so did Monster Energy’s podium run, in the BMX Park final. The concrete course provided ample opportunity to get creative and technical, stacked with wall rides, vertical corners, and extensions.
Defending gold medalist Kevin Peraza from Tucson, Arizona, dropped into the eight-rider final as the man to beat. The 27-year-old started his run on a strong note by landing a huge 360 invert over the centerpiece jump, right into a 360 downside tailwhip and a flair on the quarter pipe.
Next, the three-time gold medalist pulled a massive Indian air over the hip, tiregrab can can, alley-oop no-hander, superman seat grab, pocket transfer air, tailwhip pocket air, and G-turn 360 over the hip. When the dust cleared, Peraza took home the bronze medal, his fourth podium at X Games, in a strong performance at X Games Chiba 2022. For the day’s big surprise, an X Games rookie and Monster Energy team rider pulled ahead in the final: 22-year-old Justin Dowell from Virginia Beach.
Attacking the course with style and consistency, Dowell impressed the judges with moves like his signature “Twix” air, a tailwhip barspin at the same time. The young pro also finessed airs like lookback, truck driver to tailwhip, 540 tuck no-hander, and double tailwhip. When he also landed 540 tailwhip on the big quarter and a technical flair lookback, the judges awarded Dowell the silver medal in his X Games debut.
Don’t be surprised: In 2018, Dowell already turned heads by winning the 2018 UCI Urban World Cycling Championships in Chengdu, China.
Women’s Skateboard Park
The hometown crowd was treated to a strong performance from Japanese riders in the Women’s Skateboard Park finals. Four out of the eight finalists hailed from the host country, and Japanese skaters would ultimately sweep the entire podium.
The podium sweep included young Monster Energy rider, 20-year-old Mami Tezuka from Hikone Shiga. Known for her diverse bag of tricks, high-speed approach, and creative transfers, Tezuka dropped in as a podium favorite after already claiming silver in the discipline at X Games 2021 last summer.
But as it turned out, the first run ended early for Tezuka with a slip-on a transfer air. Regaining her composure on next attempts, Tezuka put together a flawless run featuring frontside Smith grind in the deep end, frontside air transfer the hip, transfer frontside tailslide up the extension, Indy air, invert on the extension, and frontside feeble grind through the corner.
As the final jam session progressed, Tezuka dialed up the difficulty byways of backside Smith grind the deep end and gap out to frontside 50-50 truck bash on the extension. Ultimately, Tezuka earned the bronze medal as part of an all-Japanese podium with Cocona Hiraki in second and Sakura Yosozumi in first place.
The bronze medal marks Tezuka’s second X Games medal in a young career that includes a third-place finish in the 2019 Vans Park Series World Championship Finals.
Moto X Best Whip
The roar of engines reverberated inside ZOZO Marine Stadium for the weekend’s only medal event in a motorized sport: Moto X Best Whip stoked the Japanese audience with a spectacular air show of “Whip” aerials – riders throwing their bikes sideways in the air – in an eight-minute jam session judged on overall impression.
The sport’s certified legends had come to Chiba to throw down, including nine-time X Games medalist Axell Hodges from Encinitas, California, and Japanese ripper Genki Watanabe. The rider to beat on Saturday night? Defending gold medalist, American Tom Parsons.
In this mix of icons and gold medalists, one fresh face stole the spotlight by taking over the top spot: X Games rookie and Monster Energy team rider Julien Vanstippen from Ophain, Belgium.
Right from the start, the 26-year-old started sending spectacular whips across the superkicker gap. For several runs, Vanstippen took the lead thanks to contorted turndown-style whips, travelling through the air entirely facing backwards.
When the dust settled, Vanstippen found himself leapfrogged by Parsons and Tyler Bereman on final attempts. But he took home the bronze medal in Moto X Best Whip in his debut at the event. Impressive result in a strong performance for team Monster Energy at X Games Chiba 2022!
Here’s some good news for viewers who missed the action on Saturday: You can catch full replays of all BMX, Moto X, and Skateboard competitions on the official X Games YouTube channel!
Additionally, two hours of event recap coverage will air on ABC as part of the World of X Games series on May 14 and May 21 from 2 – 3 p.m. ET.
Only one more day to go: On Sunday, X Games Chiba 2022 concludes on Sunday with Men’s Skateboard Park as well as Men’s and Women’s Skateboard Street. Not to be missed!