Doubts crept into Samarria Brevard’s head every year, after each of her first four X Games. All of them ended without a medal.
Maybe she wasn’t a contest skater, more of an artist. Maybe skating was her lifestyle but not her sport.
Even before her second run in the women’s Street Skateboarding final, which ended with her earning a silver medal, her mind was at ease only because the competition was almost complete.
Moments later, as she waited to receive a medal around her neck, she leaned against a metal barrier and asked Mimi Knoop, the founder of the Women’s Skateboarding Alliance, “Does that mean life is going to change?”
The pessimism was gone.
“It’s hard to think that way when you’ve got a medal,” said Brevard, 23.
Knoop, who has sponsored Brevard since the skater was 16 and is a five-time X Games medalist, said some skaters break inside the X Games environment. The crowds, the attention — everything is bigger.
“You’re used to doing it on your own, expressing yourself in your own way,” Knoop said. “Then all of a sudden everyone is watching you. It’s this kind of parallel universe.”
Brevard, of Riverside, Calif., finished fourth in Street Skateboarding in her first X Games, in Los Angeles in 2013. But she did worse every year after that, including 10th twice.
If she learned anything from those failings, Brevard said, it’s that she needed to relax, to minimize the pressure she put on herself. Brevard especially felt no pressure after she scored just a 30.00 in her first run through the course, the second-lowest of the 12 competitors. She fell off her board, the same problem that had often plagued her in the X Games.
After that, Brevard just wanted to be done.
“My mind was able to be at ease at the fact it was almost over,” she said with a laugh.
Brevard said she blacked out during her second run. She didn’t remember what happened.
It included a triple flip down the course’s stairs. Knoop said she didn’t think a woman had completed that trick in a contest before.
What Brevard remembered next was hearing the horn that her turn was finished. Then she saw her score: 84.66, three points behind gold medalist Aori Nishimura (87.66).
As she was being interviewed after the competition, with her face on U.S. Bank Stadium’s two video screens, Brevard turned toward the camera and jolted backward. She was shocked at how close it was to her face.
The entire moment seemed to surprise her.