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X Games 2018: The daredevil Olympics returns to Minneapolis

Lizzie Armando competing in Women's Skateboard Park during X Games Minneapolis 2017.

Lizzie Armando competing in Women's Skateboard Park during X Games Minneapolis 2017. Eric Lars Bakke / ESPN Images

Cardi B isn’t coming to your X Games party. Not even for five minutes.

Spotlight-seeking missiles like Ms. B only turn up for events like the Super Bowl. The glitz, glamour, and frostbite that accompanied that happening are long gone, and not soon to return. If Minneapolis hosts that game again, it will mean every other American city is under water, on fire, or both.

Not so for the X Games. After a strong first outing in Minneapolis last summer—110,000 attendees over four days—ESPN’s extreme sports festival doubled down, extending its contract with the city through 2020. When that run’s over, Minneapolis will have hosted the summer X Games for four years straight—more than any other city except Los Angeles.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, in a reference to the time people (including the boyish mayor-elect) rode a zipline across the Mississippi River, welcomed the X Games extension by saying Minneapolis had “shown the world we know how to live on the edge.”

Sure. Maybe more important, we’ve shown the world we can be a polite, functioning city when we’re besieged by out-of-towners. Even the kind willing to pay an average of about $4,000 a ticket, as Super Bowl attendees did.

The X Games is different. Try gouging this crowd on $36 chips-and-guac and you’ll wind up with the mini-riot you deserve.

On Thursday night, BMX bikers and skateboarders will take to the vert ramp outside U.S. Bank Stadium for two of the X Games’ marquee events. And it’s free. Can you imagine another event sending out its biggest names in their most dramatic moment, and telling people to walk right up, no charge?

Last year’s skateboard vert featured something of a passing—or grabbing—of the torch. X Games legend Bob Burnquist (14 gold medals, and 30 overall) made his final run in that event, and 21-year-old Moto Shibata became its youngest (and first Japanese) gold medalist ever. Shibata blessed his winning turn with a spellbinding last-second trick, rotating once in the air while whipping his skateboard around twice.

A “kamikaze,” he called it. Shibata ought to get naming rights, because he’d never landed one in competition before. No one else even tries it.

Who will be the next performer to land something no one’s ever seen before? What will we name that next frontier? Walk right up, Minneapolis. We get three more years to find out.

Read City Pages' coverage of the 2018 X Games:

How to eat like an X Games athlete

Becoming an X-Gamer: Where to skateboard, in-line skate and motocross

The X Games concerts: How extreme are they?

Meet the homegrown athletes competing at the X Games

The 7 dopest moments in X Games history [VIDEO]

Zen and the art of shredding: Nicole Hause didn't teach me to kickflip, just everything else about life

View the full 2018 X Games schedule here:

Thursday, July 19

p.m. Pacifico Skateboard Vert Final

10:15 p.m. Pacifico BMX Vert Final

Friday, July 20

12 p.m. SoFi Women’s Skateboard Street Qualifier

p.m. Fruit of the Loom BMX Dirt Qualifier

2:45 p.m. Monster Energy Men’s Skateboard Street Qualifier

p.m. Next X Skateboard Park Final

4:30 p.m. Next X Skateboard Street Final

5:30 p.m. BMX Street Final

6:30 p.m. Dave Mirra’s BMX Park Best Trick Final

7:45 p.m. Moto X QuarterPipe High Air Final

8:45 p.m. The Real Cost BMX Big Air Final

9:45 p.m. Moto X Freestyle Final

10:30 p.m. GEICO X Games Music: Kaskade

Saturday, July 21

12 p.m. LifeProof Moto X Step Up Final

1:30 p.m. Toyota Men’s Skateboard Park Final

3:45 p.m. SoFi Women’s Skateboard Street Final

p.m. Fruit of the Loom BMX Dirt Final

7:15 p.m. Moto X Best Whip Final

7:45 p.m. Monster Energy Moto X Best Trick Final

8:30 p.m. Skateboard Big Air Final

9:45 p.m. GEICO X Games Music: Brother Ali

11 p.m. GEICO X Games Music: Ice Cube

Sunday, July 22

10:30 a.m. Harley-Davidson Hooligan Racing Round One and Semi Finals

11:30 a.m. Harley-Davidson Flat Track Racing & Harley Hooligan Racing Finals

p.m. Women’s Skateboard Park Final

2:15 p.m. Monster Energy Men’s Skateboard Street Final

3:30 p.m. Men’s BMX Park Final

5:30 p.m.m GEICO X Games Music: Zedd