Quarantine Post #31: Summer and Winter Olympics and X-Games

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There has been a lot of time to sit back on my haunches and reflect on my life as well as reconnect with some of the things I used to love. That tends to happen when you have been working from home for 8 months. I will say that I enjoy strolling back down memory lane. And this post will be my stroll of falling in love with the X Games and the Olympics. I had a conversation with some family members about these topics the other day and decided to write up something up about it.

So the X Games was my first introduction to people like Tony Hawk, Dave Mirra (R.I.P.) T.J. Lavin, Ryan Nyquist, and Shaun White. I was about 14 when my brother and I were arguing about what to watch. Since I was the oldest and somewhat trying to be spiteful, I flipped to ESPN and the X games were on. It didn’t take much for all of us to want to see more. (I’ll say from this point on, we switch to ESPN a lot to see what what was on… It is also how we fell in love with the World’s Strongest Man Competition.) That first day we watched it for hours. There was something about the events that seemed unbelievable. At that point in my life, I rode a bike almost every day with my friends but there was no way I could see myself doing a superman seat grab. My mother enjoyed it because it was a time when we kids weren’t arguing with each other about some nonsense. X Games events can vary from year to year, but generally consisted of inline skating, snowboarding, BMX biking, and skateboarding. The events were broken down even more:

Aggressive Inline Skating (Now not apart of the X Games)

  • Vert Skating
  • Vert Skating Triples
  • Vert Skating Best Trick
  • Street Skating
  • Park Skating

BMX Freestyle

  • BMX Vert
  • BMX Park
  • BMX Street
  • BMX Big Air
  • BMX Dirt

Snowboarding

  • Snowboard Big Air
  • Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
  • Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle
  • Men’s Snowboard Superpipe
  • Women’s Snowboard Superpipe

Skateboarding

  • Skateboard Vert
  • Men’s Skateboard Park
  • Women’s Skateboard Park
  • Street League Skateboarding
  • SLS Select Series
  • Women’s Skateboard Street
  • Skateboard Big Air

I was always partial to inline skating but that was removed from the ESPN X-Games in 2005. The sport was included in the first ESPN X-Games in 1995 and included vertical ramp and street event competitions. It reached its height in popularity in the late 90s, with mainstream movies like Disney’s Brink! and other films. If you haven’t seen Brink… It is on Disney Plus.. and it is one of those movies that still stands the test of time for me. Fun times.

I have been away from the X games for many years but when I returned I noticed that they added several other events like Snowmobile, Skiing, and Motocross (which Disney also made a movie about.) I am always sucked right back in whenever I see it on tv. Being at home since March has rekindled my love for all things X Games (They really need to bring back inline skaters.) I am not sure what the intrigue was and still is. I was glad to see if was a place where different sports from the norm were showcased. It was also where I saw that women were also allowed to compete (and they damn excelled.)

Good Movie… A modern take on Shakespeare but you know….

My love for what little I knew about the X Games at that time was transferred to the Olympics MANY years later when I actually met friends who had watch parties for the Olympics. It wasn’t something that was really talked about in my house. I found out recently that my mom watches them periodically whenever she can catch it. So I showed up to a friends party where we were going to watch the Summer Olympics in, I believe, 2008 where we watched Michael Phelps make history. What was funny is at the time I still didn’t get how the Olympics works. But Google is a hell of a tool. I was able to learn that the Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years in the four-year period. The evolution of the Olympic Movement during the 20th and 21st centuries has resulted in several changes to the Olympic Games. Some of these adjustments include the creation of the Winter Olympic Games for snow and ice sports, the Paralympic Games for athletes with disabilities, the Youth Olympic Games for athletes aged 14 to 18. The Olympic Games program consists of 35 sports, 30 disciplines and 408 events. The Summer Olympics program includes 26 sports, while the Winter Olympics program features 15 sports. Athletics, swimming, fencing, and artistic gymnastics are the only summer sports that have never been absent from the Olympic program. Cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and speed skating have been featured at every Winter Olympics program since its inception in 1924. Current Olympic sports, like badminton, basketball, and volleyball, first appeared on the program as demonstration sports, and were later promoted to full Olympic sports. Some sports that were featured in earlier Games were later dropped from the program.

Again, it was great to see top athletes from around the world competing. It was great to see women competing in the highest stage from around the world. The winners kept getting younger and younger.It was great to see Red Gerard win the gold medal in Slopestyle at 17 in 2018 and Chloe Kim win in vert. In my quarantine time, I have attended attending the Summer, and Winter Olympics. Leah better be ready. We will be all over the world…

Both of these games are really where I usually live vicariously through these athletes. I could not imagine competing on such a high level. I can’t even imagine the training that goes into getting into the Olympics. So as I have been doing I have been living the past 8 months on highlights from the X Games and the Olympics… Watching old Disney movies were I was introduced to the extreme sports. So really I have been falling back in love with and reconnected with things that I have loved as a kid.

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