Is the Euro Winter X Games going mainstream? I guess it depends how you classify mainstream, although it could be argued the Winter X Games has lost some of its X-factor since the Olympics woke up to snowboarding in 1998.
More traditional Olympic disciplines have been around since the year dot (1924 to be exact). Snowboarding, however, is a relatively new sport; the first ever Winter X Games was in 1997, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) taking snowboarding on its books a year later.
Before then, there was a clear division: regular Olympic sports one side, extreme sports the other. Although, hold on: Since when was luge not extreme? And as for ski-jumping, it’s completely off the richter.
So what does the Winter X Games bring that the Winter Olympics does not? Well, there are eight different competitions, these include Slopestyle, Ski and Snowboard SuperPipe and a demonstration event on snowmobiles – not sure this last one would make it past the IOC selection committee.
The Winter X Games’ freestyle events do challenge convention. Competitors in baggy jeans and this year’s branded fashion apparel may have Baron de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, turning in his grave. But who knows?
Avery Brundage, a previous IOC president, once described the Olympic movement as “a religion with universal appeal, which incorporates all the basic values of other religions, a modern, exciting, virile, dynamic religion, attractive to youth.”
So, should we expect ‘snowmobile knock out’ to make the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia? Unlikely, but you can catch it on UK television, as ESPN are covering the Winter X Games live.
The Winter X Games begin on March 10 with the men’s Ski SuperPipe and for the first time they are being held in Europe, in Tignes, France: Fantastique!
If talk of the Euro Winter X Games going mainstream has you hankering for a winter sports holiday, then check out of skiing discounts as you could save a packet.