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The biggest action sports event to ever grace UK shores, Nitro World Games arrives at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium next May – the first time the competition has ever been held outside of the US. We caught up with Anthony Warren to get the lowdown on what fans can expect.
For those who don’t know anything about Nitro World Games, how would you sum up what the event is about?
Anthony Warren. Nitro World Games is the most progressive and ground-breaking action sports competition in the world. It started in 2016 with Nitro’s 20 million fans from around the world who were used to seeing us constantly break the boundaries of action sport and what can be done, so we thought, let’s tie this in to an actual competitive environment, where we bring in athletes from freestyle motocross, BMX, skateboard and scooter and effectively have them compete against each other in a stadium environment.
You mentioned how the competition started in 2016 – fast-forward to now: what’s changed?
AW. Action sports as a whole is really growing, so we started with a one-day, four-hour event, which was broadcast live in the US on NBC and was a huge success then we split that content out into multiple different disciplines – so we had an BMX and a skatepark weekend, we had a ScootFest weekend, we had the FMX Best Trick event, and then we also brought in the Nitro Rallycross. And so, the next obvious step from that was to move into a two-day format; with a semi-final on day one and a final on day two – and that’s what we’re bringing to Wales.
What can audiences expect from those two days?
AW. Well if you’re going to break world records, you need to take the time to take the jumps, while also making it a compelling event for the audience, and so splitting the competition over two days allows us to do that.
Also, action sports are now recognised as an Olympic event, so we felt this was absolutely the right time to expand Nitro World Games into an international event outside of the US. The Principality Stadium is an incredible stadium, with an incredible roof facility, and so our athletes can compete with no influence of wind or rain, which ensures everyone will be competing in the same conditions. Fans are going to see feats of athleticism that they never thought was possible.
And presumably the scale of the stadium just adds so much more scope for greatness?
AW. Absolutely! When we walked into the stadium for the first time and saw it, we felt “this is just made for action sport” – the height of the roof means there’s going to be no restrictions to what our riders can do.
And when you think about the scale and the excitement of the crowd driving these athletes on too, I’m sure we’re going to see some record breakers over the two days as they go bigger, go better, go harder – it really will be exhilarating.
You know, I have the benefit of seeing people every day, watching a Nitro video for the first time and just their jaws hitting the floor at what is possible. But really? They haven’t seen anything yet.
So what do you think it is about Nitro World Games that offers groups a fun day out?
AW. Truly, this event encompasses everyone. It’s mates, it’s families, it’s fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, it’s the petrolheads, music fans, entertainment fans – it really does roll everything into one, all with that added competitive element.
And of all the disciplines on show at Nitro World Games, do you have a favourite?
AW. The impossible question! If pressed, I’d have to say the BMX Best Trick. And the reason I say that is the level of competition there. The current Nitro World Games champion is a guy called Ryan Williams and he started out riding scooter – and so what you’re seeing is scooter riders now coming in, bringing scooter tickets to BMX; and then you’ve got the BMX riders, who are not to be beaten, so they’re pulling out all the stops.. and that level of competition? It’s incredible.
Finally, why should be people buy tickets for Nitro World Games?
AW. Honestly? They will never have seen an event like this.