Straight into the history books! The world’s premier action sports spectacle started with a bang on Thursday night. In front of a hyped-up crowd outside U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, Monster Energy’s Jarryd McNeil soared above the competition to win Moto X Step Up gold for the fourth consecutive time. This makes the 28-year-old Australian the first athlete to ever win four back-to-back medals in a Moto X event at X Games.
Also bringing home precious medal on day one of X Games Minneapolis 2019, McNeil’s teammate Bryce Hudson took silver in Moto X Step Up and BMX Vert icon Jamie Bestwick walked away with the silver medal in a heated finals session. Here’s how it all unfolded.
All eyes were on the 14-foot halfpipe as Thursday night’s action kicked off at The Armory music venue with the six-rider BMX Vert final. Monster Energy’s Bestwick came to Minneapolis hungry for a gold medal after settling for silver in his last two showings at Summer X Games. Plus, as the oldest competitor across all competitions this weekend at 48 years, the BMX trailblazer had to show the new generation that age, is just a number.
And that he did. Charging into his first run, Bestwick took the lead by posting power moves including Superman down whip, turndown flair traveling across the whole ramp, extended Candy Bar and massive alley-oop 540, for 89.33 points. But ultimately, defending 2018 gold medalist Vince Byron had the last word and took gold on his final run, while Bestwick bowed to the crowd to celebrate a strong silver medal finish.
On that note, this marks the 20th career X Games medal for the BMX legend, who is currently tied with iconic BMX rider Dave Mirra for most gold of any BMX competitor at X Games. He’s also only one gold medal away from a tie with Shaun White for most X Games gold in history, so you can bet he’ll be back.
Here’s what Bestwick had to say after winning his 20th medal. “Tonight was a great ramp, it was a great crowd, and it was great to be back in Minneapolis. Getting the silver medal takes my tally up to 20 and that is not a bad feat for a 48-year-old man.”
Bestwick went on to say, “Great start to the X Games 2019 with a silver medal on the vert ramp tonight. Getting the Monster Energy party started very early. Super happy with all of my runs. The ramp was riding great and the vibe in the crowd was electric so bring it on the rest of the team this weekend and good luck to everybody.”
Next up, the roar of engines filled the air outside U.S. Bank Stadium as six of the world’s best motocross aerialists came to see who could take it the highest in MOTO Step Up. As the dominant force in the discipline, three-time consecutive gold medalist (now four) McNeil made short work of each jump as the bar climbed from 30 feet upwards.
Then things got real at the 40-foot mark. The rest of the field found itself eliminated after missing two attempts each, including Hudson who took home silver as his fifth career X Games medal (1 gold, 4 silver) by clearing 38 feet.
With everyone else out of running, McNeil was facing a straight shot at making history – all it took was clearing the 40-foot benchmark. He found the right angle on his second attempt and cleared the bar, propelling himself into the X Games record book as the first rider to win four consecutive gold medals in a Moto X event.
End of story? Not for McNeil! The winningest Australian athlete at X Games is on a mission this weekend to claim another record: One more gold medal will tie McNeil with Travis Pastrana for most all-time gold in Moto X history with nine total. As a gold medal favorite in Saturday’s Moto X Best Whip, McNeil has a solid shot at making it happen.
McNeil could even go where no rider has gone before by winning another gold medal in Friday night’s Moto X Quarterpipe High Air, so stay tuned for more action popping off from X Games Minneapolis! The high-octane weekend continues on Friday with Women's Skateboard Park, The Real Cost BMX Big Air, Moto X Freestyle, and Moto X Quarterpipe High Air.