Latinos Make X Games Extra Special

Paul Rodriguez, Daniel Dhers and Vanessa Torres to dazzle the crowds with athletic skills; Win free tix from LatinoLA!

By Abelardo de la Pena Jr., El Editor
Published on LatinoLA: July 31, 2008

Latinos Make X Games Extra Special

The X Games is the definitive annual action sports competition featuring more than 150 of the world's best athletes competing in BMX Freestyle, Moto X, Skateboard and Rally Car Racing.

They‘«÷re taking place Thursday, July 31 through Sunday, August 1 at Staples Center and the Home Depot Center.

?ŪLatinoLA! is a proud sponsor of the X Games 14. We have 50 tickets to give away to the first 50 Amigos y Amigas who send us emails telling us what're their favorite x-sports. You must be a ?ŪLatinoLA! subscriber to enter (free, no cost, gratis). Click here to find out more.

The inaugural Extreme Games were held in June 1994 in Rhode Island. In 1996 they became the X Games and moves to the west coast for the first time ‘«Ű hosted by San Diego, Calif. They‘«÷ve always had Latino flavor, with X gamers like Mike Escamilla, Sandro Diaz and Kyle Loza making history with their athletic feats.

This year‘«÷s X Games are no exception, and here we feature three Latinos that will definitely make an impact on these extreme competitions.

Paul Rodriguez Jr. (pictured) is an X Games superstar. The son of pioneer Latino comic Paul Rodriguez, his discipline is Street Skating, a sport he‘«÷s been involved with since 1996. The first Street skater to repeat X Games gold (2004 & 2005) is about to have another first, his first child, with girlfriend Rainbow.

P-Rod couldn't make the three-peat happen in 2006; he finished 7th, and didn't come much closer to the gold in 2007 when he finished 6th. He is big business and felt criticism in the industry after earning the first Nike skateboarding sponsorship. He is well respected, however, for his technical mastery on a skateboard. P-Rod straddles the line of core skater and Hollywood star.

He produced his own skate video (The Forecast, 2005) and has acted in independent films. After a low overall ranking on the 2007 Dew Tour, he is starting off strong in 2008, finishing 2nd (to Ryan Sheckler) at the June Dew Tour event in Baltimore.

P-Rod is consistent and focused, able to skate switch just as well as regular, with an explosive style. He rarely falls, and when he does, he's so in control that he's never broken a bone. He considers skating a form of meditation. His training ground is on the streets, usually under the cover of darkness in illegal spots.

Venezuela's Daniel Dhers has racked up countless BMX Park podiums since 2006, taking XG bronze in '06 and gold in '07 as well as the AST Dew Tour overall titles both years. His ultra-precise riding style produces few mistakes, even while he's doing some of the hardest trick combos in the business.

After exploding onto the scene with unique tailwhip combos, he has continued to deliver his own creative variations of whips, flairs and 720s. The talent in SuperPark runs deep at XG 2008 so the competition will be fierce, but Daniel's unbelievable consistency gives him an edge. He‘«÷s the first (and only) Venezuelan X Games medalist, a tailwhip master, throwing single whips, double whips, no-footed can-cans to whips and superman seatgrabs to whips on box jumps, quarters, spines--whatever.

His riding is very precise and mechanical; he rarely seems to make a mistake. His feet find the pedals like there were magnets in them. He usually has a list of new tricks that he rations out as the season progresses, preferring to use his mid-season practice sessions (which are harder to come by due to his hectic travel schedule) to work on consistency rather than new tricks.

XG Street skating veteran Vanessa Torres has competed at X every year there has been women's skateboarding (2003). She won the inaugural women's Park competition in 2003 and backed it up with '04 Street silver. With a good head for competing, Vanessa is a consistent skater who almost always finishes in the top five at every comp she enters.

"I was kind of a follower as a kid. A lot of kids were skating. It was in, and I was stoked about it. I ran around with the crowd," says Vanessa, who was raised in Anaheim mostly by her grandmother, Mary Torres, who will attend X. Finished her sophomore year of high school and then didn't go back because she wanted to pursue skateboarding full-time. She just returned from a skateboarding trip to South America where she filmed with Chris Bredensen, and they promoted women's skateboarding.

Click here to get free tickets, courtesy of LatinoLA.

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