ESPN announced Tuesday that it will discontinue two popular but dangerous competitions: Snowmobile Best Trick and Moto X Best Trick.
The news comes less than six weeks after 25-year-old Caleb Moore died from injuries suffered during a horrific crash in the Snowmobile Freestyle event. He became the first fatality in the 18-year history of the X Games.
Moore, a four-time Winter X Games medalist, was attempting a backflip on Jan. 24 at Aspen, Colorado, when the skis in front of his 450-pound sled caught the lip of the landing area, forcing him over the handlebars and face-first on the hard snow.
He died a week later. Afterward, ESPN promised a thorough review of the freestyle competition. That review, X Games spokesman Danny Chi said, is continuing.
Chi added that the decision to drop the best-trick competitions, which had come to be regarded by many as increasingly dangerous, had nothing to do with Moore’s death.
“This decision was under review before Aspen,” Chi said.
ESPN did not address Moore’s death or the danger factor of best-trick competitions in its announcement, which was merely a statement explaining other reasoning for the changes. (But fans and athletes may choose to read between the lines as the X Games, understandably, was going to take steps in the hope of preventing another fatal accident from occurring.)
Here’s the statement:
“ESPN today announced that it will discontinue staging Moto X Best Trick and Snowmobile Best Trick competitions at future X Games events.
“This change reflects our decision to focus on motor sports disciplines which feature athletes who also compete in multiple, world-class competitions (e.g., professional events and tours) reflecting the highest degree of athlete participation, competitive development, and the global nature of our X Games franchise.
“Over the past 18 years we have made more than 60 changes to our competition lineups at X Games events to capture the evolution of the sport and these continue that growth.”