The Summer X Games is an annual extreme sports event organised by sports broadcaster ESPN, currently featuring motocross, rally and off-road truck racing, skateboarding, and BMX contests. Participants compete to win gold, silver and bronze medals as well as prize money.
The inaugural X Games were held in summer 1995 in Newport, Rhode Island, when a dual downhill competition was included in the schedule – virtual unknown Robert Naughton, a registered nurse from Flagstaff, Arizona, beat former World Cup downhill champion Jurgen Beneke from Germany in the final. Mountain bike trials, slalom and giant slalom competitions were also included in later editions.
In a huge development for the sport, mountain biking returned to the X Games in 2013, when slopestyle made its first ever X Games appearance. After high winds postponed the start of competition at Munich’s Olympic Park by more than five hours, Brett Rheeder became the first person to win X Games slopestyle gold, edging out fellow Canadian Brandon Semenuk and Spanish star Andreu Lacondeguy. The competition also featured as an official Diamond stop on the FMB World Tour.
Slopestyle also appears at X Games through Red Bull Phenom – a video competition for 15-19 years old. Six of the best entrants to the competition were invited to compete at X Games Munich in 2013 – Swedish rider Anton Thelander won the contest, riding the same obstacles that the pro stars would later use to secure their X Games medals.