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X GAMES NOTES

Confusion Angers Fans

August 06, 2004|Dan Arritt, Peter Yoon

About 200 angry fans waited in line for replacement tickets Thursday, just as the opening event for the X Games began. Most said they had bought their tickets months before, only to find their seats covered with tarp or their views obstructed.

"This has been poorly organized," said Doug Hagen of Woodland Hills, whose son traveled from Phoenix for the event.

Chris Stiepock, general manager of the X Games, said a few rows close to the arena floor were "killed" at the request of the safety director. Because the skateboard ramp and motorcycle jumps covered more space than they did last year, the safety director wanted more of a buffer for fans. Portions of the competition area were also redesigned, altering camera positions and blocking more views.

"We're bringing very nontraditional sports into a traditional sports arena," Stiepock said. "When you're building things nontraditional, there's a lot of things you can't predict."

Some given replacement seats were not happy with those either.

Jessica Suderno of Victorville, who bought her tickets two months ago, found her seats occupied by ESPN judges. She received replacements, but those had obstructed views.

Susan Philips bought tickets the day they went on sale and traveled 2,750 miles from New Jersey with seven relatives. She found herself staring at the wooden outside wall of the vert ramp.

"Two years ago, when this event was free, it went better than this," she said.

-- Dan Arritt

*

Travis Pastrana, the MotoX Freestyle gold medalist last year, said he has been working on a double backflip that he may try Sunday night.

The trick has never been landed in competition, and it would come only two years after the sport's first backflip.

Pastrana said he has landed the trick about 20 times into a foam pit but hasn't attempted it on land. He'll try it if the competition is close, he said.

"Two flips, one jump. Yeah. It's possible," Pastrana said. "If you mess it up, unconscious for sure. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go straight to the hospital, like bad."

Pastrana said he wanted to use it for best trick Thursday night but feared a crash would keep him out of the rest of the games.

"I want to stay healthy the whole way," he said.

-- Peter Yoon

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