Freestyle Dirt Bike Games
Sal Masekela and fans give us there thoughts on Mike Metzger's first dirt bike backflip in X Games competition.
Twenty Years, 20 Firsts celebrates the 20-year legacy of the X Games in action sports with a collection of 20 of the most iconic first-trick moments in X Games history. The fan-vote component for the top moment concluded with Elena Hight taking the win just after X Games Austin, but the "World Of X Games" 20 Firsts show will count down the top 20 moments July 19 on ABC.
It's hard to believe the first backflips on motorcycles in competition were landed just 12 years ago. Fast-forward to today, and freestyle motocross riders regularly land double backflips, front flips, body varials and other eye-popping aerial antics that wouldn't have been dreamed of a decade ago. But when Mike Metzger landed the first backflip in an X Games competition at X Games Philadelphia in 2002, the FMX world would never be the same.
"It's crazy what we all do in FMX, especially those of us with families, " Metzger said. "We put the selfish helmet on to go out and risk our lives entertaining people because we love it, knowing that the most dangerous thing anybody could ever want to do is get on a dirt bike and jump it the way we do. But before we put on those helmets, we all pray, every one of us. For me, that worked my whole life, thank God."
A longtime fan of Evel Knievel, Metzger started racing at age 6 and became obsessed with movie stuntmen on motorbikes in 1986, the year the movie "Rad" came out. "It was the first time I'd ever seen anybody do a backflip on a BMX bike, " he said. "Right then and there I remember thinking, 'That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to flip my motorcycle.'"
X Games VIII was where Metzger rewrote the rules of freestyle competition. Before that, the backflip was a rumor. After, it was mandatory.
Metzger was one of the first riders to start messing around with BMX-inspired freestyle tricks on his motocross bike. His competitive rival, Carey Hart, had come close to landing the backflip in competition before, but broke his foot in the attempt at the X Games in 2001. Then in 2002, Caleb Wyatt made history as the first rider to successfully backflip a full-size 250cc motorcycle, a few months before X Games, giving Metzger the final nudge he needed. Two weeks before X Games VIII both Metzger and Travis Pastrana landed the first backflips in any competition at the Gravity Games, according to ESPN Stats & Research. Pastrana finished first, and Metzger finished second.
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