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Get Stoked for X Games Japan 2022

Apr 132022

X Games goes to Japan! The world’s biggest showcase in action sports is making its debut in Japan in a few days. Some of the world’s biggest names in competitive BMX, motocross, and skateboarding will be competing in X Games Chiba 2022. The inaugural event will welcome the best in action sports from April 22-24.

X Games Chiba 2022 marks the 64th edition of X Games since the event’s inception in 1995. For three action-packed days, ZOZO Marine Stadium on Tokyo Bay will be the center of the action sports world with a capacity of 30,000 spectators. For a distinctly Japanese flavor, the event will feature Park and Street course designs inspired by origami artwork to celebrate the host country.

More than 105 athletes from 18 countries will compete for a total of 30 medals awarded in 10 competitions across three sports. Athletic performances will be supplemented by a cultural festival experience, art installations, and musical performances by the likes of Japanese rock band Man with a Mission, who also supplied the official theme song for X Games Chiba 2022.

“I’m stoked for X Games to go to Japan. Hyped to get back there,” said thirteen-time X Games gold medalist Nyjah Huston. “It will be a great opportunity for Japanese skateboard fans to watch the world's top athletes compete up close, so I'm sure this will be an event like no other,” said Japanese team rider and three-time X Games gold medalist Aori Nishimura.

Once again, the invite-only event is reserved for the best of the best, meaning multiple-time X Games medalists and highly competitive newcomers. As the official drink sponsor of X Games, Monster Energy is looking forward to bringing the heat to Japan with its team of athletes and defending gold medalists in the following key events:

 

The Skate Vert finals will kick off the very first X Games Chiba with spectacular halfpipe skateboarding on Friday. Watch out for newly minted Monster Energy team rider Elliot Sloan from New York City, coming in as a podium favorite after winning two silver medals in Skateboard Vert and Skateboard Vert Best Trick at X Games 2021. Sloan will be facing competition from Japanese team rider and style sensation Moto Shibata from Osaka, who wants to add to his gold and two silver medals in front of a hometown crowd.

 

Next, X Games Chiba will throw it back to a classic event: BMX Flatland was last contested 19 years ago at Los Angeles 2003. The sport, geared around BMX athletes performing tricks on a flat surface – no onbstacles or jumps – enjoys a massive following in Japan. BMX Flatland also counts a Monster Energy team rider among its icons: 36-year-old Moto Sasaki from Chiba is headed into the competition fresh off a second-place finish in the 2021 UCI BMX Flatland World Championship.

 

On Saturday, April 23, the action in Japan continues with the highly anticipated Skate Vert Best Trick contest. Remember when Tony Hawk landed the world’s first 900 aerial in 1999? The historic feat happened in Best Trick and this year, get ready for never-been-done stunts from an elite field including Monster Energy’s Sloan and Shibata.

 

Expect a heavy showdown in Women’s Skateboard Park with some of the world’s best vertical skaters on deck, including Mami Tezuka from Hikone Shiga, Japan. The 20-year-old rookie already took the silver medal at X Games 2021 with a stylish and explosive performance. Also gunning for a podium spot, Army rider Grace Marhoefer from Cocoa Beach, Florida, will be looking to claim her very first X Games medal in Chiba.

 

When the action moves into BMX Park, Monster Energy is bringing the heat with a heavy squad including several certified gold medal athletes. The man to beat will be defending gold medalist Kevin Peraza from Tucson, Arizona, seeking company for his three X Games gold medals. Don’t rule out Canadian ripper Mike Varga, who claimed gold in BMX Park Best Trick in 2021 and 2019. The stacked roster further includes 2021’s BMX Dirt gold medalist Pat Casey from Riverside, California, and ten-time X Games medalist Kyle Baldock from Australia. Plus, California local Daniel Sandoval may have finished outside the podium at X Games 2021 but has been on a roll in the BMX Triple Challenge contests, so look out! And with certified X Games bronze medalist Jose Torres from Argentina, as well as young guns Jeremy Malott and Justin Dowell in the mix, the stage is set for an unforgettable battle in BMX Park.

The roar of engines will kick into high gear inside ZOZO Marine Stadium for the aerial showcase known as Moto X Best Whip. A line-up of the sport’s legends will showcase their most contorted aerials, also known as ‘whips’, including nine-time X Games medalist Axell Hodges from Encinitas, California. For a special treat, 37-year-old FMX icon Taka Higashino will stoke the hometown crowd as one of the sport’s true trailblazers. Stylish whips are also the calling card of Japanese ripper Genki Watanabe, who took home his third silver in the discipline at X Games 2021. And let’s not forget our X Games rookie, Julien Vanstippen from Belgium, ready to whip it big at X Games Chiba 2022.

 

Saturday’s action concludes with the BMX Street final, where Scottish team rider Alex Donnachie from Perthshire wants to improve on bronze from X Games 2021. Donnachie already owns gold from X Games Sydney 2018 and comes to Japan hungry for another win. It won’t be easy: Also keep an eye on Australian team rider Lewis Mills, ready to add to his silver from Sydney 2018.

 

Sunday marks the final day of X Games Chiba 2022 and it’s all skateboarding, all day long. The epic course at ZOZO Marine Stadium will showcase the high-stakes Men’s Skateboard Park final. Dropping in as the defending gold medalist, Monster Army rider Liam Pace from Tucson, Arizona, soared above the competition at X Games 2021 and has been on a tear since. Audiences may remember new Monster Energy team rider Kieran Woolley for knocking over a cameraman at the Tokyo Olympics. The Australian rookie has also been knocking down podiums and just claimed silver at Cowtown’s 2022 PHXAM contest. For another wildcard, get ready for the all-terrain skills of Brazilian team rider Luiz Francisco from Lorena.

 

Speaking of Brazilian talent, the list of podium favorites in Women’s Skateboard Street includes 14-year-old Rayssa Leal from Imperatriz. The young skateboarding phenom claimed silver at the Tokyo Olympics and second place at the SLS Super Crown World Championship 2021 – now she wants to go all the way to the top in Chiba. But not if Japanese team rider and five-time X Games medalist Aori Nishimura from Tokyo has a word in the matter. The reigning 2021 World Skate Street World Champion is ready to claim her fourth gold on her home turf, so sparks will fly!

 

For the grand finale, Men’s Skateboard Street will conclude X Games Chiba 2022 with a bang. The big story is the return of the winningest street skateboarder of all time, Nyjah Huston from Laguna Beach, California, to X Games after missing last year’s edition for the Olympics. Huston already owns an incredible 13 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals and is ready to send it in Japan. His competition includes Brazilian Monster Energy rider Kelvin Hoefler from São Paulo: The 29-year-old claimed silver at the Tokyo Olympics, but has not earned a medal at X Games since his third-place finish at X Games Norway 2019, so it’s high time! For the ultimate wildcard, look forward to 15-year-old X Games rookie and hometown favorite Daiki Ikeda holding his own against the big boys at X Games Chiba 2022.

 

One more thing: While Moto X Freestyle is not contested as a medal event at X Games Chiba 2022, the crowd will witness an elite demo event on Sunday. Look forward to backflips and technical tricks courtesy of Monster Energy’s Hodges, Higashino, Watanabe, and Vanstippen to round out what promises to be a historic first X Games in the Land of the Rising Sun!

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