Friday May 29, 2015

Ryan Nyquist still hunting for gold at 20th X Games

It has been more than ten years since Ryan Nyquist last tasted victory at X Games, but he will be hungrier than ever before when he travels to Austin next week in search of a fifth gold medal.

The 36-year-old last celebrated first place when he doubled up in BMX Park and Dirt at X Games 2003 but has made the podium six times since then – including four second-place finishes.

But even with 20 events under his belt since first rocking up to X Games back in 1997, Nyquist is still targeting a return to the top step.

“Anytime I go to an event there’s not a doubt in my mind I want to go there and ride well and try to get the top spot,” he said. “It would be weird to me to go to an event and not care about doing well. I feel like that would be a sign for me that maybe I’m done.

“To me those medals still mean a lot. Now that a lot of years have gone past they almost mean more, because it’s not as frequent.

“Back in the day there were a lot more events. Now that so many years have gone by, to walk away from the event with a win would be very special.”

Nyquist waits for his score during X Games Austin 2014 - he placed 5th in park and 10th in dirt

The Californian’s diverse riding style as made him one of the biggest names in BMX over the years. He has inspired riders in both Park and Dirt – winning seven medals in the former and nine in the latter

He is renowned for a mixing old-school style with modern bangers and Nyquist believes this unique approach is key to both his longevity in the sport and success at X Games 2015.

“My style of riding is a little bit different to most people so my progression has always been a little bit branched out from the typical rider,” he added.

“I think that kind of helps me stand out too because I’ll do some tricks that a lot of guys won’t. I’m fortunate because I feel like I’ve taken a path in my riding that not many have and I’ve kind of found my niche in the sport.

“It’s definitely not easy to do your own thing but I think it’s worth it in the end because if you can establish a style that’s all your own then you become someone who people look out for.”

Nyquist's last medal was a silver in BMX Park at X Games Barcelona 2013

A stacked field is expected in Austin, particularly for BMX Park, but Nyquist isn’t phased by the many up-and-coming riders who are making their names on the contest scene and online with big new tricks.

That’s because Nyquist, spurred on by the relentless progression in the sport, might have a few surprises of his own to unveil in Texas and even further down the road.

“I have some stuff I’m working on but I’ll just see how it goes,” he said. “I’m a very methodical rider in the fact that I need to know I’m going to pull something before I just send it. It’s very rare you’ll see me just through a Hail Mary and hope it works.

“But sometimes things change. When you see people dropping in and it’s all hammers then it’s like well, maybe it’s time.

“A lot of people ask how long I’m going to do this and I don’t feel like I’m slowing down. I still feel like I can hang out there, whether it be through experience of knowing how to ride a course or put a run together. While that’s all going on I don’t really feel like I should stop and I still love it.”

Almost 20 years into his X Games career, Ryan Nyquist is far from calling it a day and gold medals could still be on the menu in Austin.

Check out how Ryan Nyquist gets on this year with daily reports from X Games Austin 2015 on Extreme.com!

Nyquist competing in BMX Dirt at X Games Austin 2014

Channels: Extreme.com, BMX

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