Glendale College's Student Magazine
Tuesday October 24th 2017

X Games: bad news for fans of extreme sports

2013 coverLos Angeles has gotten a double-dose of bad news from ESPN’s X Games. On March 12, ESPN announced that it would be cancelling the Best Trick competition (in both the motorcycle and snowmobile categories) from its lineup. As if that wasn’t bad enough, on April 30 came the official announcement that after 11 years X Games would not be back to Los Angeles in 2014. Yes that’s right, the upcoming event from August 1 to 4 will be the last in Southern California for three years or more.

The motivation behind discontinuing Best Trick is safety related; four-time X Games medalist Caleb Moore died from injuries sustained during a snowmobile crash in Aspen during the Winter X Games.

“Moto X Best Trick and Snowmobile Best Trick were not dropped in response to what happened in Aspen,” an ESPN spokesman said in a media release. “This decision was under consideration before Aspen and, in fact, our review of Snowmobile Freestyle continues.”

However, that’s as far as they’ll go besides stating that in 11 years they’ve made 60 changes to various competitions.

Once the announcement was made thousands of comments flooded in via forums, Facebook and twitter that action sports competitors and fans alike couldn’t believe it (both the cancellation and the claim that they were already looking at such action).

Travis PastranaFirst of all, the event Moore was hurt during was the Freestyle competition (not Best Trick). Second, Best Trick is the event that put X Games on the extreme action motorsports map, between Travis Pastrana’s historic double back flip at Staples Center in 2006, pictured above, to Jacko Strong landing the first-ever front flip in competition during the 2011 games.

Since its inception in 2001 Best Trick has been an incubator for action sports, and is largely responsible for its climb in both popularity and innovation.

Although there have been injuries in Best Trick (nothing worse than a broken bone), there have been much worse in other categories. In 2007, Jake Brown fell more than 40 feet during the skateboard Big Air comp. Brown suffered a fractured wrist, bruised lung and liver, whiplash, ruptured spleen and a concussion. Big Air is still on the schedule.

Moving along, the decision to leave LA  was made in 2012 when the contract with AEG (owner of Staples) wasn’t renewed because the company was up for sale. In October ESPN started taking bids from potential host cities, such as is done for the Olympics.

The four finalists are Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, N.C. each with a chance to earn three-year contracts to host the North American summer stop on the X Games beginning in 2014. The final choice will be announced later this summer.

This is a sad day for both Los Angeles and action sports in general.

About Richard Kontas
Richard Kontas is the El Vaquero newsroom manager. He is a longtime motorcycle racing enthusiast and photographer whose work appears at http://HooliganUnderground.com

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These articles are required reading for the JOURN 107 class.