Roundup: Winter X Games 2009
Posted By:Brett Haynes Tags:
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Sports fans have grown familiar over the years with sporting events that write the history books including World Series, Super Bowls, World Cups, Olympics, PGA majors, Final Fours, and many more. These championships help us distinguish who is great, and who is good, and we find our superstars in these events - those who are the best in the world at what they do. And that my friends, is why if you haven't taken the time to become a fan of the X Games, I strongly encourage you to do so...These are the games of today's youth - and they are here to stay! WX13 wrapped up yesterday, and it was another huge success for those fans of alternative sports.
A few years back, I decided to give this X Games thing a chance. Lounging around with some college roommates, we spent a few days, literally, doing nothing more than watching the X Games. At first, I was skeptical about the whole thing. I didn't understand why people would spend their time watching punk skater dudes do tricks in the snow for hours on end. It was just more of today's youth and ESPN trying to get my entertainment dollar, right? I had no time for this with all of the "real sports" out there.... And then I watched.
As event after event went by, I quickly realized that I was watching true athletes competing at the highest level. These guys from nations around the world perform moves that are as athletic as you will find in any sport, and like "real sports", there is often a high chance of physical harm involved. It isn't rare to find an X-Gamer 60 feet up in the air for one reason or another. Broken Bones and bloody noses are no stranger to these games, and after I saw a dude get run over in a snow-mobile race, I realized that these medals are as precious as any.
If you are new to this, here is a quick briefing from someone who is by no-means an expert: The X Games (Extreme Games) started in 1993, and they, from their conception, were a product of ESPN, who created them via an assembled idea squad. Two years later the idea became a reality as the first games were held in Rhode Island in June of 1995 to the tune of 198,000 ticket buyers. Fans were treated to an array of high-quality action on skateboards and bikes, as well as events such as speed mountain-climbing. The games were originally scheduled to run every other year, but due to the popularity of the event in year number one, the games were made an annual event.
Three years later, built on the success of the original X Games, the Winter X Games were added. This would give a stage to extreme winter sport competitors such as snow-mobilers, skiers, and snow-boarders to show-off their stuff to the world in the same way as their warm-weather buddies. The Winter X Games debuted in Big Bear Lake, California with 38,000 fans braving the cold to watch the best go for medals in the extreme snow sports.
Both events have skipped around to different cities and winter wonderlands around the United States, drawing large gatherings each time. The Summer X Games tend to land in California most years, while the winter version has landed in Colorado more than anywhere else. The games are open to international athletes, who compete in qualifiers around the globe to reach the games here in the U.S. This gives the games a bit of a lift in spirit and adds to the excitement, as countries and competitors root for one another to represent their nationality.
In 2009, the X Games are now finished, but not without highlights and stories for the ages. These games finished with a fury, and with controversy, as well-known snow-boarder Shaun White became the first back-to-back gold medalist in the Super Pipe, scoring big in the very final run of the games for the win. As the TV cameras rolled in a Hollywood moment, talks began to swirl about the judges' scoring. Many thought the man he defeated, Kevin Pearce, deserved the gold as his run was just as "big" and just as "bad". But in the end, White would take the top medal. "The Flying Tomato", they call him with his red hair, will remain snow-sports' most recognizable figure.
Other Gold winners in major events from WX13, Aspen 2009:
SNB SuperPipe Men - Shaun White (USA)
SMB Freestyle - Joe Parsons (USA)
SKI SlopeStyle Men's - TJ Schiller (USA)
SMB Freestyle Elimination - Justin Hoyer (USA)
SKI SkierX Men's - Stanley Hayer (Czech.)
SKI SkierX Women's - Ophilie David (France)
SNB SuperPipe - Women - Torah Bright (Austr.)
SKI SlopeStyle Men's Elimination - Colby West (USA)
Here is a good link to X Games history: http://skateboard.about.com/cs/events/a/XGamesHistory.htm
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