BARCELONA, Spain — Kevin Robinson, a 22-year veteran BMX rider, pulls double duty at the X Games. Since 2011, he’s also been an on-air analyst for ESPN.
Injuries have sidelined Robinson, 41, but he is keen on competing at X Games Munich and X Games Los Angeles later this summer. Robinson tells Front Row how he remains a top-flight rider while honing his craft as an analyst for X Games Barcelona, which air across ESPN platforms through tomorrow.
How did you become an X Games commentator?
In Winter 2011, I was “T-boned” by a car and broke my shoulder. That took me out for the season. I told ESPN I would love to be involved [with X Games] but because I wasn’t able to compete, what can we do? That’s when they brought me into the booth, and I fell in love.
How do you prepare for competition and work for ESPN in the same day?
I try not to overthink it. I come in and try to do my job. With riding, I just try to stay as relaxed as I can. I’ve done it a million times. I go out there and try to stay as healthy as I can.
In Foz do Iguaçu, [Brazil], I crashed. My first thought was [I need to] talk to my family and let them know I”m all right. My next thought was I need to be OK to work the ESPN telecast that night, so I called production to let them know I would be there. When I put that headset on, I get that same adrenaline rush and competing is way more relaxed for me.
How is X Games different than some of the other events you’ve been a part of?
The X Games has worked all these years because they’re doing it right. It’s all about progression and moving forward. They’ve listened to the athletes and they keep trying to make improvements. That’s been the key to success, listening to each other and constant communication. We all want to move forward and grow. It’s not just a competition, it’s a lifestyle. That’s what’s important to me when working an ESPN event, to tell the stories of the athletes.
ICYMI: Highlights from the past week on Front Row
• KIA NBA Countdown’s Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons helped to feature the ‘greatest Nerf dunker ever’ in Tosh.0’s “mockumentary” dubbed 30 for 30.0 (a spin on the esteemed ESPN Films series 30 for 30).
• Graduation season is in full swing, and this year, several ESPN commentators have the honor of giving commencement speeches at a variety of schools. Front Row asked them about the thrill of having such a unique opportunity.
• ESPNU’s coverage of the NBA Draft Combine began this week. The exclusive live coverage included interviews as well as an inside look at how the expected top draft picks faired in several skills challenges. Front Row sat down with the newly re-signed Andy Katz to discuss this year’s Combine.
• This week was the annual ESPN Upfront at the Best Buy Theater in New York City. Front Row spoke with Mark Baltazar, CEO and Managing Partner of Broadstreet, who has produced seven upfronts for ESPN. Baltazar shared some of the details of creating an upfront.
Row of Four
Our favorites from across ESPN over the past week
• Nine-year-old Alayna Adams got a great surprise after throwing out the first pitch during Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays game
• Grantland’s Jonathan Abrams talked to a few NBA legends about pro basketball travel before private jets and chartered buses
• E:60 reporter Tom Rinaldi on the journey of Mets AAA catcher Landon Powell, battling through a disastrous injury, a sudden disease and the loss of his infant daughter
• Enjoy an array of photos in this gallery from ESPN Images
Barb Blake contributed to this post