<
>

Nieratko's X Games Picks

Disclaimer: ESPN does not necessarily endorse any of Chris Nieratko's opinions.

Went down to the X Games street course (or as I like to call it the unfinished Death Star) to see who was shredding the gnar. As expected, the only people practicing were those that needed the practice: the Brazilians and the girls.

I decided for the sake of journalism and science it would be best if I retreated back to my hotel on the tarmac at LAX and try to make sense of the thoroughbreds competing this year by sitting poolside.

Recently industry insiders have been posting Battle of The Berrics spoilers on my beloved SLAP message board. It's quite annoying. To avoid the same sort of lameness I will forgo all my insider information, throw my objectivity to the wind and give you my picks for this year's X Games winners, one by one.

SKATE BIG AIR
Gold: Bob Burnquist will take it all. Expect to see a lot of airwalks, judos and saran wraps in an attempt to dispel any rumors involving the use of magnets.
Silver: Alex Perelson goes for a 900 out of the quarterpipe and gets stuck in the rafters of the Staples Center. He takes second place anyway in an effort to try to make up for the Jake Brown judging blunder of two years ago.
Bronze: Jake Brown dives head first into the crowd off the roll in. Accidentally (intentionally?) crushing a certain former pro-skater/current aspiring rapper for bonus points.

SKATE BIG AIR RAIL JAM
Gold: Danny Way breaks his own leg with a hammer before dropping in switch into a switch flip nosegrind to fakie. Jake, Bob, and Pierre choose not to even skate for fear of Danny eating them alive. Literally.

SKATE STREET WOMEN"S
Gold: Elissa Steamer wins it on style alone. Doesn't hurt that she ripped the park in practice. And doesn't look like a dude.
Silver: Marisa Dal Santo is the next Elissa. Elissa better watch out! If Marisa cleans her glasses she could take it all. (Look out for an upcoming issue of Vice when I give Marisa a full Hollywood makeover. All I'll say is, "Hubba! Hubba!")
Bronze: Lorena Lima takes third because she's from Jersey and rides for NJ Skateshop. But she came out to LA with her boyfriend and I told her if I find out there's any hanky panky going on I'm gonna tell her mom!

SKATE PARK MEN'S
The course looks way sicker this year for this park idea, everything is more spread out and there's more to hit. I'm putting my money on this being the most exciting thing to watch all weekend. I'll tell you who isn't gonna win—Alain Goikoetxea. You're not going anywhere with that name, pal. Why don't you come back next year as Alan Geico and maybe you'll have a shot.
Gold: Tony Trujillo was the highlight of last years X Games for me. I expect him to really capitalize on his intense training regime that he's been on these past 10 years.
Silver: Peter Hewitt isn't invited and he didn't skate last year and I think both of those statements are big mistakes.
Bronze: Dennis Busenitz gets invited to the park contest but not the street one? Yeah, that makes sense.

SKATE STREET MEN'S
Expect Ryan Sheckler, Chaz Ortiz and P-Rod to thumb wrestle over the top three with my darkhorse favorite Chris Cole throwing a wrench in the mix for bookies across the country. But if dreams came true I'd pick.
Gold: Terry Kennedy, just because I know that he must have one hell of an acceptance speech he's been working on forever. You know he's got some great lines and he's not about to whisper them.
Silver: Nick Dompierre, but only if he skates the whole contest without the beanie letting his luscious hair fly. It might just make Adam Dyet realize how ridiculous he looks.
Bronze: Sean Malto, just so I can hear him reveal to the skateboard world that he actually is Koston's illegitimate child.

SKATE VERT MEN'S
New rules, let's make this exciting: No pads and no one over 30.
Gold: Hey why is Alex Perelson standing up there all by himself?