Basketball, BMX, and breakdancing are just some of the more then fifty events showcased at Russia’s Moscow City Games, an annual sports festival held at Luzhniki Stadium. The Moscow Committee of Sports organizes the event each year to expose the hundreds of thousands of attendees to the wide possibilities of extreme sports. Through both exciting tournaments and demonstrations, people of all ages are introduced to a wide variety of thrilling options that can be part of a physically active lifestyle.
The most recent Moscow City Games took placed on July 26, 2014, attracting extreme athletes from all over the world, including MTB rider Lukas Knopf from Germany, who wrote on his facebook page that the event was “sick” and was an opportunity to “get some good stuff in practice.” This huge event highlights so many diverse activities from a wide variety of trick biking, racing, and skateboarding, gentler activates like chess and arm wrestling, and celebrations of what in Russia is considered “alternative” culture, such as beatboxing and graffiti art. The event is thus an opportunity to expose people to extreme sports they might not otherwise know about.
Thus, it was very exciting to the Freestyle Scooter world that this year, one of the featured events at Moscow City Games was the official Russian Scooter Championship, taking place on a skate park custom built for the Games. According to the ISA (International Scooter Association), “Russia has a strong emerging scooter scene with many enthusiastic up and coming riders,” a new but growing field spreading through the grassroots, recruiting many local youth excited by the freedom and possibilities of exploring scooter techniques.
The Russian Scooter Championship was a wildcard championship, enabling any International Pro Rider a chance to compete for a spot at the World Championship, to be held at Scootfest in the UK August 16th -17th, in addition to cash prizes for the top three performers. With local DJ Sokolov Yuri setting the atmosphere for the hundreds of spectators, each of the 40 riders completed two runs, with the top 15 going on to the final. 18-year-old English rider Ryan McNamara won the championship with a final score of 93.33. It has been four years since an awe-struck Ryan first received his JDBug, and he recently reflected on his facebook page that “I did not have a clue how much a scooter could change someone’s life,” both through a life-energizing experience of riding, and the “hundreds or maybe even thousands” of friends riding has introduced him to and given such “great memories.” The second place spot was claimed by 21 year-old French rider Flavio Pesenti, with a final score of 93.
The highest performing Russian rider, who placed third overall, and secured an ISA Wild Card spot, was 17 year-old Peter Bondar, with a final score of 92.67. Peter will be the only Russian contender for the championship this year, but overall Russia gave us nine of the fifteen top performing riders for the Russian Championship. In keeping with the Moscow Games’ emphasis on education and outreach, locals were treated to a “ride with the pros” open park event, in which anyone could ride with, interact with, and learn from some of the world’s greatest riders. Thus, this event demonstrated that Russia is going to be very exciting field producing great enthusiastic emerging scooter riders, and I expect great things from the National Scooter Foundation of Russia in the future.