Thousands pack downtown as X Games fire up in Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin will serve as the new home to the X Games for the next four years. Most events will take place at the Circuit of the Americas in Southeast Austin, but the party kicked off Thursday on Congress Avenue.

Thousands of fans packed Congress Avenue on Thursday night as skateboard and BMX riders took to the halfpipe constructed just south of the state Capitol, officially kicking off the X Games.

Ahead of the events, excited fans filled the streets Wednesday to check out what was on tap.

“We just came to check it out, see how the ramp building was going, and see if we could maybe catch some of the pros practicing,” said Tyler Witkin.

The finishing touches went in Wednesday afternoon around the main spectacle downtown — the halfpipe. Much of the day was for athlete check-in downtown, and it was a chance for some the skateboarding and BMX pros to practice on the halfpipe.

Downtown road closure map for X Games.
Downtown road closure map for X Games.

Out at COTA, athletes were getting a look at the new setup. And, not that we’re surprised, the pros were already growing to love Austin.

“It seems like a lively town,” said multiple gold medal winning Bob Burnquist. “Obviously music is huge here, and I don’t know what the crowds are yet, but it seems like with that kind of enthusiasm, it should be a great time.”

Twelve-year-old Logan Cogswell dreams of being a pro one day. He had his skateboard with him downtown Wednesday, and was showing off tricks. He could have a bright future in extreme sports; he said he’s already got sponsorships.

“Hopefully one day I can be skating in the street or the park courses,” Cogswell said. “I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes.”

Texas native BMX pro Morgan Wade had some advice.

“The biggest thing that kids getting into the sport need to understand, is, if they stick with it and they enjoy doing it, they’ll be right where we are,” he said. “It’s just a matter of putting time and effort into it.”

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