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X Games Sit Down With Alex Nikulin

Jul 052018

Monster Energy sat down with Alex Nikulin to discuss the upcoming 2018 X Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota and get a feel for what it takes to compete on the biggest stage.


Is this your first X Games?

Yes, It's my very first X Games. 

What did you get invited for?

I got invited for Dirt. Some people said it was because of the new trick I landed in South Africa which was a 720 front flip. Maybe because of that. I was surprised. I didn't expect it.

What did you do when you found out?

I was pretty happy to get the invite.

Who’s the first person you told?

I think I was in the skatepark riding my bike as always, and my little friend who’s like 15 years old was next to me and I told him. He was surprised and happy for me too.

Did you call anyone? Tell anyone else?

I called my mom and dad. My friends, I called Irek.

So now that you’re in Boise, trying to qualify for park how do you feel about that?

I feel pretty good because the difference in this contest is, it’s free practice as much as you want. Irek, Kostya and I got here five days before the practice, so we get five more days of solid sessions. Now I'm feeling good because for this, this skate park is difficult because in Russia we don’t have any concrete skate parks, but we're used to it now.

Do you feel like you have an advantage now that you’ve been here for five days?

Now I'm feeling pretty good. I did most of everything I wanted to do on the ramps.

How are you going to prepare for Minneapolis?

I already have plans for Minneapolis dirt, because it’s going to be better to practice on dirt. And for skatepark I heard the course is way different. It’s concrete, but it’s more like a normal skate park. It’s at least going to be a few days of practice.

Are you riding dirt somewhere?

Yes, the guys are already shaping the dirt course where we used to live. They're getting it ready in Russia.

So, you’re staying in Russia until X Games?

Yeah, I think I’m also planning to go to Sweden. They have a really good training facility with foam pits and airbags. I have to do some bangers on the airbags first, then go to real dirt jumps. 

Do you have any secret tricks you're working on?

I already promised Carlson I would do a 720-front flip. He asked me to promise to do it as one of the tricks. I'm doing a few more tricks that might surprise people. 

Are you nervous?

Not at all. 

Is it like every other contest? 

Of course, but it’s special because we've never had any Russians invited to X Games.

Are you the only one invited officially?

Yes, the first Russian.

What's that like?

I‘m pretty surprised because we thought it would never happened. It was something that was too good, too special.

Did you grow up watching X Games?

Since my childhood I've been watching X Games. It was like a dream contest.

Do you have anyone you watched when you were younger in X-= Games?

Most of the guys actually. Daniel Dhers, Chase Hawk, Dennis Enarson, most of the guys that are here.

Who do you like riding most with?

Everyone now, now that we're pretty comfortable with everyone since we've been to other contests and meeting people. They’re pretty good people.

Do you think you have a lot of fans in Russia that are excited to watch the first Russian?

Sure, we have many fans in Russia. All of our friends, all of our families, all the people out there.

Are you bringing anyone to X Games?

Not sure yet, it’s hard to get a US visa for Russians. 

Is there anything you can't travel without? Good luck charm?

Yes, my bicycle.

Do you pack anything else?

Not really, I don’t have any special thing to bring with me every time. Yeah, my bicycle, my backpack, helmet that’s it. Since my childhood since I was 14 years old when I started riding, I had to bring my bike to meet new people, to ride new parks so I’m used to bringing it everywhere.

Are you excited to watch other events at X games?

Yeah, because we don’t have anything like this is in Russia. We have many big other events but not like extreme sports, like Soccer World Cup. But action sports are not as popular as here in the United States.

Are you nervous to be in a big stadium? Have you been in one?

This year, Irek and I visited three stops of Supercross. It was in a huge stadium. I reckon it's going to be like that but with many skatepark, big air, dirt jumps, FMX. I’m not nervous but really looking forward to it.

Are you excited to watch skate or FMX besides BMX?

Yeah for sure. 

Do you have any favorites?

I'd say FMX for sure and skateboarding.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

The other day, someone just told me about how contests are like exams and to do well you have to do your homework. How well you prepare is how well you'll do. It’s kind of like exams. If you do the homework, the exam will be easy. I agree with that point of view. Just make sure you have solid practice session and you won’t have to be nervous at all.

If you win a medal who’s the first person you're going to call?

I'm not able to call from the United States, so I wouldn't call. But if I could call, I would call my parents for sure.

If you win a medal what would you do with it? 

I'm going to put it in my parents’ house. My dad really loves my trophies

Are you going to celebrate? 

Yes, but not with any alcohol, just hang out with my friends. 

Are you doing anything else in America other than X Games.

Just X Games.

Any projects? 

Yeah, I have some really cool ideas to do a project with Monster. But I have to find enough time to make it happen because there are so many contests right now going on. 

Since you're the first Russian, are you looking at the Olympics and representing Russia?

Yeah, for sure I changed my strategy and tried to get better. I set myself a goal to become better, to get the best out of myself.

What does it mean to you to potentially be the only Russian going to X Games?

Yeah, I'm for sure proud. For me it means trying my best since I'm going to be back in Russia with a stop in Sweden to get some bangers. I'm going to prepare myself as much as I can.

Why do you think X Games is different from any other contest?

It's something like a priority. It's not a contest that everyone can go and ride. You don’t have to be famous, but you have to be something special in order to be there, but now they invited me.

Anyone you need to thank for getting you here?

My parents, my friends, Kostya, and Irek. To everyone who’s here now. 

Anything you want to add? 

To all the homies I’m riding with every day. Shout out to you.

For a full breakdown of 2018 X Games Minneapolis CLICK HERE!