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X Games - a Game of Risk and Reward

Posted by Dan Egan  January 28, 2013 11:23 AM

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Dominance in sports is an amazing accomplishment, and Shawn White winning his sixth gold medal in the Men’s Super Pipe is monumental.

Sliver went to Japanese Ayumu Hirano, who at just 14 years old, came within just seven points of beating White, who is almost twice his age.

Hirano, when asked why he's so good at a press conference, answered simply, “I don’t know.” For ESPN, it was a perfect ending to another X Games full of non-stop action, high-flying stunts, acrobatics, and crashes.

shawn white.jpg

And ESPN knows why the X Games are so good; it's because people are watching.

In 2012 total attendance in Aspen reached 108,000 and this year, the number is expected to be higher. On Saturday night alone ESPN was reporting 47,000-plus sports enthusiasts in the stands. This year the event hosted over 200 athletes competing in 16 disciplines.

Between ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, action sports have a huge platform and with a record number of people watching, advertisers are happy, fans are thrilled and the X Games will roll on.

For the athletes competing on the biggest stage in action sports, there is very little room for error. They're gambling it all, and, let's face it: these events are dangerous.

In the Men’s Ski SuperPipe, the announcer said noted that every athlete competing in the event has had a major surgery in the last 14 months. In the Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe, two of the television announcers were athletes with injuries: Kevin Pierce has a permanent brain injury and, the other, Gretchen Bleiler, is suffering from a fractured eye socket from a crash during training on a trampoline.

In Snowmobile X, two brothers were injured in different races but on the same jump. Celeb Moore has brain complications and his brother Colten separated his pelvis.

Also, in Snowmobiling, an Australian competitor attempted a backflip Sunday night in the best trick competition and his sled took off into the viewing area. A Colorado man was injured, but not before throwing his 11-year-old son out of the way of the unmanned sled. That's just the tip of the iceberg for injuries, further down on the list are spines, knees and concussions.
x games crowd .jpg

However, with a world-wide television audience the X Games have changed the culture of sports forever. There are X Game events this year in Spain, France, Brazil, Germany along with the two in this country (taking place in Aspen and LA).They have transformed sports, changed the direction of the Olympics and produced some of best know athletes in the world today.

Shawn White’s sixth gold medal will make him one of the most sought-after athletes leading up to and during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia next year. Meanwhile, coming up behind him is an entirely new generation of skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers and others, led by young talented athletes like Ayumu Hirano, who have better training, coaching and who are willing to risk it all for the fame and fortune of the likes of Shawn White and others.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Edging The Xtreme with Dan Egan focuses on the hip and happenings of the extreme sports world, with exclusive interviews with regional, national and international athletes in the world of skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, surfing and so much more.

More about Dan Egan

Dan Egan thrives on action and has been at the forefront of the extreme sports scene since the mid 1980s. As a pro athlete, Egan pioneered extreme skiing and the extreme sports industry. He has led adventure trips around the world from the Alps to the Arctic. His company runs camps and clinics across North America, Europe and South America. Dan Egan is a writer, world- renowned extreme skiing pioneer and an award-winning and Emmy nominated media producer.
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