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X Games Minneapolis kicks off this week, and dozens of the best action sports athletes in the world are descending on the Midwest for four days of competition. Among the competitors, Nitro Circus athletes have a strong presence in Minneapolis. Here are some of the big story lines we’ll be keeping an eye on:

Ryan Williams will be competing in BMX Big Air at his first-ever X Games, a moment that’s been a long time coming for him. Also in BMX Big Air, Kurtis Downs will be attempting the remarkable feat of getting on the podium for his second straight year in only his second X Games. James Foster, a veteran of this event, is always a threat to podium. The X Games mega ramp starts out as a perfect setup for Nitro Circus athletes — until they get to the quarterpipe, which is a 27-foot-tall mammoth structure that changes the game from what our riders are used to. These guys have been training a ton in recent months, and this event is going to be exciting to watch. Foster is also competing in BMX Dirt, where he’ll face a stacked field, including Brandon Loupos, another rider to watch in this event as well as in BMX Park.

On the FMX side, Jarryd McNeil is slated to compete in three events: MX Quarterpipe, MX Step Up, and MX Best Whip. He’s among the favorites in all three. Josh Sheehan is also competing in three FMX events: MX Best Trick, MX Freestyle, and MX Best Whip. Harry Bink is hitting his professional stride just in time for his third X Games. He’ll be riding in MX Best Trick and MX Freestyle, and with the form he’s in his first X Games podium is in his sights. Taka Higashino, Clinton Moore, Tom Pages, and Jacko Strong are also competing in those two events. They’ll be joined in MX Freestyle by the veteran Adam Jones. Nate Adams will look for an incredible 20th podium as he competes in the Best Whip competition.

Josh Sheehan, Kurtis Downs, Harry Bink, and Jarryd McNeil are among the Nitro Circus athletes competing at X Games Minneapolis

Left to right: Josh Sheehan, Kurtis Downs, Harry Bink, and Jarryd McNeil

Something fun to look out for that’s new this year: Flat track racing with only stock motorcycles, called “Hooligan” racing. Many BMX and freestyle motocross riders from the early age of freestyle have transitioned into dirt racing. It’s awesome to watch the sport grow and the audience take notice of just how gnarly it is.

Reports from the competition will be immediate and frequent, so check back often. Also check out the Nitro Circus Instagram story for behind-the-scenes action. Head to the X Games website for the full lineup of events.

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