X Games

X Games legend comes out of retirement for BMX world record attempt

Kevin Robinson speaks during the Dave Mirra Celebration at X Games Austin 2016. (Matt Morning/ESPN Images)
Kevin Robinson speaks during the Dave Mirra Celebration at X Games Austin 2016.
(Matt Morning/ESPN Images)

Saturday before his hometown crowd, BMX legend and Providence, R.I., native Kevin Robinson (K-Rob) will attempt a new Guinness World Record for “longest power-assisted bicycle backflip.”

The stunt is deemed power-assisted because he’s being towed-in to his takeoff ramp by an ATV. A veteran of 18 X Games, four-time gold medalist Robinson is coming out of a three-year retirement from competition – he’s been an X Games commentator for ESPN in the interim – to add to his list of career achievements.

The “K-Rob Flips Providence” event will air live on ESPN Saturday (5 p.m. ET). It will be replayed Sunday on ABC as part of the World of X Games episode (4 p.m.).

X Games Austin 2014: Kevin Robinson during the Tony Hawk &Friends Demo. (Bryce Kanights/ESPN Images)
X Games Austin 2014: Kevin Robinson performs during the Tony Hawk & Friends Demo.
(Bryce Kanights/ESPN Images)

Front Row caught up with K-Rob leading into his world-record attempt:

What inspired you to come out of retirement to attempt this world record?
I retired from competition in 2013. Not because I wanted to stop riding my bike, but because I didn’t enjoy competing anymore. I had my hip replaced 2-1/2 yrs ago. It gave me a new drive to push myself hard again under my own terms.

What is the impact of the X Games on your career and on this jump?
The X Games has played a huge role in my life. Here we are 20-plus years later and they are still giving BMX a platform to the mainstream. The X Games staff is my family. They gave a skinny little kid from East Providence a platform back in 1995. I will forever be loyal.

What’s the best part of working as an X Games commentator?
Before I retired, I went through a series of bad shoulder injuries in the 2011 season. I was asked to be an analyst and I fell in love with it. That was a big reason to retire from competition. I found a new passion but it kept me around the world I love.

What do you want people to know about your K-Rob Flips Providence event and why it was so important for you to do this in your hometown?
I’ve been wanting to do this for about four to five years. I tried to get former sponsors to back it. No one wanted to do it in Rhode Island. My biggest drive my entire life is someone telling me “no.” It’s always been that way. I’m a fan of being the underdog, the little engine that could. I grew up in a hard-working, blue-collar home. My parents taught me if you want something, you work for it. I wouldn’t settle.

So I decided to do it on my own. I picked the location, built a great team, got the sponsors, the vendors and entertainment for the festival. Skidmark Parks helped me build the ramps, I booked all my own media and more. A huge thanks to Jack Fleming, Betsy Dolan, John Saxton, and my wife Robin. To all my friends and family that have helped, thank you and I love you. I brought this event to my great state of Rhode Island. The greatest place on this earth!

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