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KIDS OOOH AND AAAH AT EXTREME-SPORTS ATHLETES AT X GAMES 11.

Byline: Angie Valencia-Martinez Staff Writer

Strapped with a helmet and pads, Cara-Beth Burnside swooshed down the vertical ramp and back up - drawing ooohs and aaahs from hundreds of girls Saturday at the X Games.

They could not help but gawk at the pioneer who in the 1990s became the first female professional skater. Girls with skateboards tucked under their arms said they look to Burnside as a role model.

``She's an inspiration to me,'' said Amee Jay, 13, of Lakewood.

The young daredevil is a member of the All Girl Skate Jam, a traveling contest and exhibition for girls of all ages and abilities.

In between skating at the Games, Amee said she's had her share of injuries, from a sprained ankle to the time she fell flat on her nose.

Still, Amee practices every day in hopes of competing at the X Games - just like Cara-Beth Burnside.

``I aspire to be her one day. She has taught me that if you want to skate, go ahead and do it and don't be afraid to fall. Don't give up,'' Amee said.

At the Women's Skateboard Vert finals, 37-year-old Burnside edged out up-and-coming skater Lin-Z Adams Hawkins, 15, for the gold medal.

The X Games are the largest action sports showcase, featuring high- flying skateboarders, back-flipping motorcyclists and other daring athletes.

For the third consecutive year, Los Angeles is playing host to what is dubbed the ``Olympics of radical sports,'' which includes BMX freestyle, skateboarding and wakeboarding competition, in-line skating and motocross.

X Games 11 are being held at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles and Home Depot Center in Carson.

Young and old came to watch some of the top action-sports figures in the world. Today is the last day for spectators to see some flipping, rolling, spinning, twisting, jumping and speeding.

``It doesn't matter if you're a man, woman, child or senior, X Games is about the rush,'' said Tom Mendoza of North Hollywood. ``What you have here is athletes who go out there with the idea to wow a crowd ... Our jaws simply drop, and for that one moment, (the athletes are) invincible.''

People lined up under the sun Saturday to catch a glimpse of their favorite athletes, get some freebies or listen to live entertainment.

Brennan Erickson and Brody Wisdom, from San Antonio, planned to get an autograph from BMX rider Morgan Wade.

Asked what drew them from Texas to the action-sports festival, ``It's just fun,'' the teens said in unison.

Eleven-year-old Andi Erickson of Iowa is new to the world of skateboarding.

``I'm learning the basics,'' she said, carrying a skateboard. ``I thought it was cool so I decided to try it.''

Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604

angie.valencia(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 7, 2005
Words:455
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