Monster Energy congratulates its BMX and skateboard athletes on a strong performance on day one of X Games Chiba 2022.
CHIBA, Japan, April 23, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The first-ever edition of X Games in Japan is officially live! Monster Energy congratulates its BMX and skateboard athletes on a strong performance on day one of X Games Chiba 2022. In the inaugural event at ZOZO Marine Stadium, 26-year-old Moto Shibata from Osaka, Japan, took the silver medal in Skateboard Vert in front of a hometown crowd. The BMX Flatland competition, contested for the first time in 19 years at X Games, saw 36-year-old Moto Sasaki from Chiba, Japan, claim bronze.
Supported by Monster Energy as the official energy drink partner, X Games Chiba 2022 is the 64th edition of X Games since the event’s inception in 1995. For three action-packed days, ZOZO Marine Stadium on Tokyo Bay is at the center of the action sports world with a capacity for 30,000 spectators. For a distinctly Japanese flavor, the live event features Park and Street course designs inspired by origami artwork.
More than 90 athletes from 18 countries are competing for a total of 30 medals awarded in ten competitions across three sports. Top-notch athletic performances are 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.
Here’s how the action unfolded for team Monster Energy on day one of X Games Chiba 2022:
Skateboard Vert: Monster Energy’s Moto Shibata Soars High to Silver Medal Finish
On Friday afternoon, the Skateboard Vert finals started the very first X Games Chiba with spectacular halfpipe skateboarding. The weekend’s first official medal event saw eight of the world’s best vertical skateboarders take on the enormous halfpipe in a one-hour jam session, winners decided on the highest-scoring run.
Countries represented included Brazil, France, Japan, and the United States. Monster Energy’s Shibata dropped in as the hometown hero and only Japanese rider. The 26-year-old style icon hails from Osaka, where his family operates the Simple City skate shop.
Coming in hot, Shibata secured his spot on the X Games podium with an explosive first run. The perfect routine included a huge backside method air, one-foot Japan air, mute McTwist, stalefish McTwist, front foot impossible lien air, slob air fakie, backside grab fakie 540, frontside gay twist Madonna, alley-oop backside lipslide to Smith grind, fast plant to fakie and signature Kamikaze air, blending a frontside gay twist with a front foot impossible. Shibata earned the silver medal with American Jimmy Wilkins taking first place.
Friday’s silver medal brings Shibata’s X Games medal count to four medals (1 gold, 3 silver). A professional skateboarder since the age of 13, Shibata is known for his stylish blend of high airs, old-school tricks and new-school innovation. In 2016, he made history as the first male Japanese skateboarder to earn a medal at an X Games (Austin).
Also putting on a strong performance in Friday’s Skateboard Vert final, 33-year-old Elliot Sloan from New York City came in as a podium favorite after claiming silver in the discipline at X Games 2021. But as the final unfolded, the decorated vert skater and owner of 13 X Games medals was having difficulty stringing together the perfect line.
On his last run in the final, Sloan pulled a flawless run including frontside nosebone, backside 540 Indy, backside 540 tail grab, alley-oop backside air, kickflip Indy, backside 540 melon, frontside heelflip, Indy nosebone fakie, backside 720 Indy, 360 air fakie and heelflip gay twist. Sloan finished closely outside podium position in fourth place.
One more thing: Stay tuned as Sloan and Shibata take another shot at earning X Games medals on Saturday in the creative Skateboard Vert Best Trick contest.
BMX Flatland: Monster Energy’s Moto Sasaki Claims Bronze in Front of Hometown Crowd
For the second medal event of the day, X Games Chiba 2022 brought back a blast from the past: BMX Flatland was contested for the first time in 19 years, having made its last appearance at X Games Los Angeles 2003.
The competition, celebrated by a strong following in Japan, revolves around BMX athletes performing tricks on a flat surface. Without any obstacles or jumps, the focus is on fluid trick combinations, technical bar spins and one-wheeled manuals in a display of balance and grace.
Friday’s BMX Flatland contest saw eight athletes face off in a head-to-head elimination format. Countries represented included France, Japan, Spain, and the United States.
At age 36, Monster Energy’s Sasaki entered the competition as a respected innovator of the sport. In his first battle, Sasaki faced Viki Gomez from Spain. As Gomez slipped on his first attempt, Sasaki found his groove with an extended nose wheelie combination, fluidly changing his stance from pedals to pegs and the saddle without losing his balance for a ticket into the semifinal.
In the semifinal, Sasaki faced a tough test in Frenchman Alex Jumelin. Again, Sasaki opened strong with a stylish nose wheelie including a technical bar flip and steamroller move. But when Sasaki lost his footing on a bar flip into a front peg landing, it left the door open for Jumelin to advance into the final.
However, Sasaki regained his composure in the battle for bronze against Mathias Dandois from France. This time, Sasaki held down a perfect cross-footed nose wheelie while varying his stance across the bike. As Dandois made mistakes early in his run, Sasaki continued stringing together technical spins, peg manuals and a difficult hitchhiker stance. A perfectly executed hang-5 pivot to x-foot crackpacker turbine into backwards spinning x-foot crackpacker sealed the deal for the bronze medal.
Friday’s bronze marks the first X Games medal for Monster Energy’s Sasaki. Considered an icon of flatland BMX, Sasaki recently took second place in the 2021 UCI Flatland BMX World Championship. He has won the Japanese National Championships sixteen times and was crowned the NORA Cup Number One Flatlander of The Year in 2010 and 2011. Sasaki operates a flatland BMX school for kids in his hometown, Chiba.
“This medal is very important to me because there are 100 or more athletes competing at X Games Chiba, but I am the only athlete from Chiba—that was the most important thing,” said Moto Sasaki. “Today’s riding was my best riding in my life and I’m so happy. I’m looking forward to doing better next year.”
Stay tuned for more action from X Games Chiba 2022! The spectacle will continue Saturday with Skateboard Vert Best Trick, Women’s Skateboard Park, BMX Park, Moto X Best Whip, and BMX Street. Don’t miss it!
X Games fans in the United States can watch live competition coverage from the inaugural X Games Chiba event April 22 – 24 on the ESPN App and X Games YouTube. Additionally, two hours of event recap coverage will air on ABC as part of the World of X Games series on May 14 and 21 from 2 – 3 p.m. ET.
Visit http://www.monsterenergy.com for exclusive updates from X Games Chiba 2022 including photos, videos, and contest results as they happen. Follow Monster Energy on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
About Monster Energy
Based in Corona, California, Monster Energy is the leading marketer of energy drinks and alternative beverages. Refusing to acknowledge the traditional, Monster Energy supports the scene and sport. Whether motocross, off-road, NASCAR, MMA, BMX, surf, snowboard, ski, skateboard, or the rock and roll lifestyle, Monster Energy is a brand that believes in authenticity and the core of what its sports, athletes and musicians represent. More than a drink, it’s the way of life lived by athletes, sports, bands, believers and fans. See more about Monster Energy including all of its drinks at http://www.monsterenergy.com.
Kimberly Paige Dresser, Indie Agency, Inc., (949) 300-5546, [email protected]
SOURCE Monster Energy