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The X-Games

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The X-Games, ESPN, EXPN

Image courtesy ESPN

The X-Games:

ESPN's X-Games are arguably the biggest and most prestigious alternative sports competition events on the planet. Held annually in both the summer and winter, the events attract hundreds of thousands of spectators with an even larger television viewership. They have put many of the more prolific alternative sports athletes on the map, including household names like Tony Hawk, Shaun White, Tanner Hall and Shaun Palmer.

The History of the X-Games:

Initially known as The Extreme Games, the event was first held in the summer of 1995, with venues spread across Rhode Island and Vermont. After being renamed The X-Games, a winter event was added in 1997, with California's Snow Summit Mountain Resort playing host. Now in their 14th (Summer) and 12th (Winter) years, the events have spawned several off-shoots, including the X-Games Global Championships, which were held in 2003.

Current X-Games Events:

Winter-X

Men's & Women's Snowboarding

  • Slopestyle
  • Superpipe
  • Snowboarder-X (Boarder Cross)
  • Big Air/Best Trick

Men's & Women's Skiing

  • Slopestyle
  • Superpipe
  • Skier-X (Skier Cross)
  • Big Air/Best Trick
  • Monoskier-X (mixed gender)

Men's Snowmobiling

  • Snocross
  • Freestyle
  • Speed & Style

Summer-X

Men's Skateboarding

  • Vert (halfpipe
  • Street
  • Big Air/Best Trick
  • Superpark

Men's Freestyle BMX

  • Vert
  • Street
  • Big Air/Best Trick
  • Superpark

Moto-X

  • Freestyle
  • Best Trick
  • Step-Up
  • Men's & Women's Racing (Supercross)

Men's & Women's Rally Car Racing

Men's & Women's Surfing

Former X-Games Events:

The X-Games have seen many events come and go, from the plain wacky (shovel racing, bungee jumping, sky-surfing, snowboard big-air in the summer) to those events that are no longer deemed popular enough (in-line skating, sport climbing, street luge, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and adventure racing).

Impact on the Action Sports World:

The X-Games can also be credited with propelling many of the athletes from the fringes of the athletic world into the mainstream consciousness. Competitors like Hawk, Pastrana, Shaun White and others have landed major sponsorship deals with companies like Hewlett Packard, PepsiCo and American Express, to name a few. The event has also led to an increase in the popularity of action sports in general, with corresponding growth within the industry. Television networks Versus and Fuel TV now showcase action sports all year long, while mainstream outlets like MTV and NBC cover the industry as well.

Memorable Moments:

Countless firsts and never before seen tricks have been witnessed at the X-Games over the years. At the 1999 Summer games, skateboard legend Tony Hawk landed the first 900 in competition after ten failed attempts. At the 2006 Summer games, motorcross rider Travis Pastrana became the first rider to land a double-backflip in competition.

Environmental Initiatives:

During the 2005 Summer X-Games, The Walt Disney Company (ESPN's parent company) launched XGE, or the X-Games Environmentality initiative. Their efforts at conservation and waste-reduction have resulted in over 200 tons of waste from the games being recycled, with an additional 32 tons being composted.

Learn More About the XGE Initiative

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