When ESPN announced that the Flatland discipline got dropped from the 2004 X-Games schedule we contacted some flatland riders to check on their view on this. For a few reactions, read on:
Manu Massabova (Agoride): This add is only the reflection of an obvious fact,the flatland is breaking away from the big Freestyle family. When I first started the BMX, almost 20 years ago,every rider practiced all the disciplines and the bikes didn t have any specificities either. As we have rejected the race discipline from which we come from yet, nowadays a new phenomenon is happening: flatland is breaking away from other disciplines. having a look to the increasing number of 100% flatland contest, we realize this phenomenon extent. The flat riders are considered as dancers on their bikes by the other riders, and the flatlander mentality is getting away from the Jackass state of mind of the street and dirt riders of the moment. I don't know where is gonna lead us to, but I and Agoride are against this separation. We will fight for this divorce not to be pronounced.
The Flatland is part of the Bmx family and it's our role (medias and riders) to make things change in the right way. The X Games are only a big commercial machine for the American public, and this machine doesn't stick with Bmx state of mind, even if it took part (thanks to its mediatisation) to the Bmx development. Today, the heart is not there anymore, it's only a money gulf and the fact that Flatland won't be associated to it anymore doesn't disappoint me at all.
Michiel Verberg (Soulcycle): If flatland is not presented in the right way, it’s hard to understand where it’s all about.
Nathan Penonzek (Flatland nomad): IÂ´ll just say that I was waiting for that anyway, it doesnÂ´t surprise me..
They never liked flatland anyway, we all know that, it has been a European and Japanese sport for the past 5 years.... So it will continue to be so..
Back to the underworld.. like in lord of the rings.. the evil ones in the underworld later to conquer.. haha.. Whatever is my answer.. life goes on..
It is for fat people on their couch drinking bud and miller.... Really cheap Bud and Miller. Someone who has been knitted into society like a robot and has no way out. ... ItÂ´s too artistic for people like this.. They need football (American).. Flatland is not the X-games.. and never will be.. and real sports to excite them.. Lots of good looking men with tight uniforms is what they like...
Chad DeGroot (Mission park): Mat Hoffman has put his neck out more than a few times by keeping flat in the X-games. I don't need to go to that contest ever again. My mind was made up a few years ago. They aren't fun. You don't get treated with any kind of respect, cept the fans, they are great. It always felt like work. I don't run that way.
Riders really are getting the shaft if they drop the flat side of the sport. ESPN never really made it look cool on TV anyway. It was bound to happen. I'd like to thank Mat for keeping with it this long.
Videos are always where its at. Look at Jim Reinstra, the Aspire video contest is the best shit. You can do things your own way and still make some serious money. Flatlanders need to get over this quick and start helping out with contests like Aspire and Metro Jam. Everything changes, let's make it for the better.
Phil Dolan (Multiple X-Games medalist): I am not surprised about this turn of events ,but on a positive note I don't think flatland needs the X games. Flatland is growing and growing and all the best contests are in Europe or Japan. The only bummer is the opportunity for some riders to make some serious money. Also there are more contests only for flatland and that is creating its own momentum.
James Alberto (Flatlanding teacher/daddy): Although I'm not a pro I do have an opinion on the X games situation.
We all knew that this was going to happen soon. So it came to no surprise to me when they did it.
But maybe this for the best, because flatland was never portrayed in a good way anyway.
The future of flat lies with events like circle of balance and flatground. We need to keep on doing our own thing and make it bigger.
We need to try to get sponsors from within the sport and support flatcompanys like KGB, company's that are willing to put the money back into flat and not like some other company who act like they have the best interest in flat, and then spend the money on cars and fancy stuff. That flat was dropped from the X games may also be good because now people will ride because they want to ride and because it's in their soul, not because they want to be famous and get a lot of money from the X games. The true riders will keep on riding and the fake ones will leave and that is just fine with me. We really don't need any corporate sponsors now to get money into flat, because when they leave (just like in the 80's) the sport will take a nosedive again. Look at how the skaters did it. They build their own shit and skating is still here. They control everything that goes on in their sport and that is the direction that flat needs to take. Good riddance to the X GAMES, I hope they never get their hands on OUR sport again.
Martti Kuoppa (KGB-chief 1): Flatland has always been on the side and the less respected sport at the X games, and when people at ESPN want to promote flatland they donÂ´t know how to do it, also they donÂ´t listen riders. So the way flatland was presented at the X games did make it look stupid in the eyes of a big crowd who donÂ´t understand anything about it. Flatland is getting to the point that it should go into itÂ´s own direction on itÂ´s own, that way people will respect it more because they donÂ´t see it at the same time when Tony Hawk or Mirra are doing 900Â´s which are easier to understand when you donÂ´t understand anything about anything. So after all I think it is a good thing it got abandoned from the X gages, it will be more likely a real "street" sport which will win at the end among the youth. We are on a right track promoting things up here in Europe, also in Japan things are going into right direction.
Viki Gomez (KGB Chief 2): I have to say a few things about it:
1:I didn't even see any good public for flatland in the X Games;
2:The way X Games present flatland is the most unprofessional I ve ever seen;
3:X games is a Fashion for the American culture; I m from Spain and the American culture doesn't mean nothing for me;...
4:It s cool that flatland is separate from BMX now...I say to all the riders of the world this Message:
BE READY FOR THE COMING UP KGB COMPS...THE X-GAMES WILL NOT KILL THIS CULTURE!!!
5:Money was the only reason for me in the X-Games;
6:Probably Flatland is so complicate for a Society with out ROOTS and 300 years of CULTURE... I respect all the riders there but the reason why Flatland is out of X Games is all about the American way of thinking!!!
7:The American invasors destroyed all the Indian culture and now they think the can kill the Flatland culture....so:
8:My answer for the laws of THE NEW WORLD is: NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! NEVER!!!!
Sam Foakes (UK): I was very disappointed to hear the news about the X Games. Although I have not been yet, I was hoping to attend in the future as one of my ambitions.
I am also disappointed 'cos I feel it could hinder the progress of flatland due to the fact the top Pro Riders will no longer be able to make enough money to ride full time. Flatland is so progressive and interesting from the point of view of its growth and its technical level, I feel it has potential to be a really big scene, especially when I saw the Japanese riders at Braun.
Flatland Competition Cancelled form 2004 X Games
ESPN informed us earlier this week that Flatland will be dropped from the 2004 X Games. It sickens us to see Flat dropped from the event. Flatland is a major staple in our sport and always will be one of the most amazing and evolving disciplines that has stemmed from Freestyle BMX. We will continue to work with ESPN in the hope to keep Flatland as involved and represented in one way or another.
ESPN is still working on how this will affect the international events. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call or write us email.
Steve Swope, H.S.A. phone: 405-528-2453 (528-bike)
Scott Hanley, X Games phone: (310) 642-8020
Please see the below statement from ESPN:
As the action sports landscape continues to evolve, the X Games has a responsibility to evolve with it. This is why each year we monitor and evaluate the most appropriate sports for inclusion in the upcoming X Games.
X Games has had seven successful years of Bike Stunt Flatland and three exciting years of Downhill BMX. We have enjoyed showcasing and working with the world-class athletes and we thank them for their dedication to their sport. Our evaluation of sports in the X Games includes a sports' progression, growth and infrastructure, as well as a review of viewership, spectator, demographic and psychographic as they pertain to that sport. Results of these factors have led us to the decision of not including Flatland in X Games this year. We continue to work with our valuable partner the Hoffman Sports Association (HSA) in their role as sport organizer for the Bike Stunt events at X Games: Vert, Park and Dirt.