While the action sports world was captivated by Kelly Slater and John John Florence going at it in the final round at the Quiksilver Pro Australia, Iouri “iPod” Podladtchikov winning with an amazing final run at The Arctic Challenge men’s halfpipe finals at Norway’s Oslo Vinterpark, and Bobby Brown announcing that he won’t be competing at X-Games Tignes, X-Games was busy revising their X-Games lineups.
On Tuesday, ESPN announced that they will be discontinuing snowmobile best trick.
Weeks after the tragedy on the snowmobile course in Aspen during the Winter X-Games, it was no surprise that it had ripple effects throughout the snowmobiling industry. And while Caleb Moore’s incredibly unfortunate accident did not take place during the best trick competition, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that the impacts of his accident are determining future X-Games events. Cool, we get it.
However, coupled with their announcement of canceling snowmobile best trick for the foreseeable future, they also announced that the Summer X-Games will no longer play host to Moto X best trick. Is this a joke?
Now, I’m not going to pretend I’m some PR expert, but if I had to take a shot at it, I’d say that this is basically saying, ”these dudes are out of their friggin’ minds and we’re scared someone else is going to die on live TV.” These athletes are becoming TOO extreme for the very stage that helped put their sports on the mainstage. While I can appreciate that ESPN is trying to safeguard its athletes, I don’t really get how this is helping “capture the evolution of a sport.”
Action sports are fueled by competition. Whether it is the homies getting together and pushing each other to learn new tricks or in contests where the athletes are pushing each other to send their best runs, we (the fans) get to see the best perform their best when their backs are against the wall in competitions. And while some athletes/teams seem to choke under pressure, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who says that of action sports athletes. These sports progress because athletes are pushed to new levels due to their competitive drive.
Because of these competitions, fans have been treated to some of the biggest moments in X-Games history…
X-Games was a very important platform that Caleb Moore, Heath Frisby, Travis Pastrana, Jack-O Strong, Kyle Loza and many other professional freestyle riders use to celebrate what they love to do. This is where they could perform in front of their fans. They don’t have the luxury of mainstage competitions like most other disciplines have. History is made at these events. Canceling these events doesn’t help these sports evolve, it hinders them. Embrace freestyle don’t run from it…