All eyes were on the screens surrounding the Park at the X Games on Saturday morning as footage of late BMX professional Dave Mirra covered the screens.
His family embraced at the top of the ramp while dozens of athletes from all sports gathered nearby. A moment of silence followed the video montage before the Circuit of the Americas crowd erupted in appreciation for the BMX legend.
“It [was] emotional,” BMX professional Kyle Baldock said. “[Mirra] was the strongest dude I’ve ever met in my life.”
The emotional scene set up the BMX Best Tricks final, which was dedicated to Mirra for his success in BMX Park events. Mirra, who died of an apparent suicide in February, ranks second all-time with 24 X Games gold medals.
The event featured 15 minutes of BMX athletes taking turns performing their top tricks before announcing the winner when the clock ran out. Baldock took the gold medal after perfecting a 720 double-whip just under four minutes into the competition. The Australian native was filled with emotion after receiving the award — Mirra was the first X Games athlete Baldock met in the United States.
“It means more than I can even say,” Baldock said. “I used to know him like a friend … to win [the award], I just feel blessed.”
Baldock’s victory in the Best Tricks Final came just minutes after he placed third in the Toyota BMX Park Final.
But for a second straight day, the X Games was plagued by rain. Weather delays pushed the Skateboard Big Air, BMX Big Air and Moto X Best Trick contests to Sunday’s final day.
Through the rain, the highlight of the day was Mirra’s memorial, especially for Baldock.
“Mirra’s award is the best award I’ve ever gotten,” Baldock said. “It just means someone came down, touched me on the shoulder and said, ‘Man, you’re doing something good.’”