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X Games: Four days of organized chaos

July 30, 2011 |  3:20 pm


Anyone who has dared to walk the streets around L.A. Live this weekend knows that the X Games represent one of the most organized four days of chaos on the planet.

With eight different event structures around a relatively small area of downtown, more than 31,000 sweaty spectators sat, stood in line and jostled with each other on Friday.

Perhaps even more striking, an X Games spokeswoman said that there are about 2,000 staff members to keep everything running smoothly. Those folks range from the security at every turn, to attractive vendors handing out free stuff, to the people serving and preparing the food.

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The spokeswoman also noted that the X Games do not use any volunteers.

The “X-Fest” is perhaps the most eclectic of the areas, serving as the main walkway down Chick Hearn Court that connects all the event areas. It’s constantly filled with vendors, TVs, children and their watchful parents. At the same moment that one teenager is trying on a Hurley T-shirt, a smaller child is snatching up his Kick Buttowski foam hand from the Radio Disney booth. Dad is probably down the street, affixing his blue Shark Week fin to his head, courtesy of the Discovery Channel.

All this is happening while rally cars race through the streets of L.A. and motorcycles are revving up for competition on the dirt track inside the Staples Center.

After a day or two, it all appears normal.

Only at the X Games.


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--Matt Stevens

Photo: A look at downtown L.A. from atop the Big Air ramp next to Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times