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X Games Kicks Off for a Weekend of Downtown Close-Ups

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, July 28, 2011, at 04:57PM
X Games 17 - Wednesday Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Riders practice on the outdoor Big Air Ramp for X Games 17. The ramp is outside for the first time since 2005.



Ready for your close-up, Downtown?

Televised sports events at Staples Center, the L.A. Coliseum and Dodger Stadium have long featured shots of the central city, often taken from the aerial view of the Goodyear blimp. None of those events come close to starring Downtown in the same way as X Games 17, which kicked off at noon today in and around L.A. Live.

The four-day competition moved to Los Angeles in 2004, with a setup around Staples Center that was highlighted by the giant outdoor big air ramp on the parking lots that now house L.A. Live.

Construction forced the ramp indoors in 2006, while other outdoor events took place at the Home Depot Center and Coliseum.

For 2011, though, the ramp is back, towering over Staples Center from the Moinian-owned parking lot across Figueroa. Joining it in the lot is a race track that will have rally cars racing on Figueroa and across a dirt jump through the weekend.

From camera positions atop ESPN's studios at L.A. Live, Staples Center and the Convention Center, viewers from around the world will get to see a Downtown L.A. that has changed a lot since those last big airs in 2006. Bikes and boards will fly in front of South Park condos that were just breaking ground back then, and wider shots will show buildings like the 54-story Ritz-Carlton tower, 717 Olympic, Concerto and Watermarke Tower that hadn't yet even started construction.

After seeing a few of those shots up on big screens during Wednesday's practice, it's safe to say that Downtown's looking pretty good.

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