After the untimely death of extreme snowmobile athlete, Caleb Moore, due to complications from an accident suffered during the ESPN 2013 Winter X Games. We must ask ourselves if we have hit the bar where it is no longer physically safe to push the creativity any more.
Moore was one of the best riders and his accident couldn’t be chalked up to inexperience…but did ESPN dodge a bullet?
After news about Moore’s death came out, an ESPN representative said on “Outside the Lines” that all X Games athletes have extensive practice in their field and this is the safest games to date. Yet, before the X Games, extreme motorcycle athlete, Jackson Strong, was on ESPN promoting the fact he had only four hours of practice on a snowmobile. The video below is what happened during Strong’s snowmobile attempt at this year’s X Games. He crashes, throttle gets stuck on his snowmobile, it goes into the crowd and clips a fan. Should we second guess calling this a “sport” if they let anyone just jump on a snowmobile and compete?
It appears that the throttle gets stuck during impact. Apparently, he was too far back on the snowmobile for that specific trick. On a motorcycle, his normal mode of transportation, he would have been in the correct position. His accident came from lack of experience on a snowmobile.
We must remember the athletes themselves made this sport. If a bunch of guys got together and were able to do backflips and supermans in Hummers, if they had enough clout in the extreme sports genre, ESPN would add it to the X Games. I’m asking why this is even a sport. The more extreme the sport and the more risks an extreme athlete takes, the more sponsors he will earn and the more money he will make. It’s a necessary risk if you want to be professional in a sport that flips modes of transportation not meant to be flipped.
It’s sad that Caleb Moore’s death had to happen for this discussion to take place. I hope ESPN and the entire extreme sports community takes a step back and take out a few events that have grown beyond being safe.