Says region shouldn’t give up on hosting event
By Serge Skiba and Pete Dixon
Guest editorial - Check our their Photos HERE
ASPEN, Colo. – The Charlotte region was in the running to host the 2014 Summer X Games, but lost the bid to Austin, Texas.
Given the opportunity to attend the Winter X Games on Jan. 24-27 was something I couldn’t pass up. This was a chance to see the type of action that could possibly come to Charlotte in the future.
This annual winter event in Aspen is composed of the greatest extreme winter athletes in the world. Many competitors from this event will go on to compete in this year’s Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Danny Davis, who won the men’s snowboard superpipe, said the X Games stands out as a more fun, relaxed atmosphere compared to other events he competes in. You don’t have the pressure of qualifying for the Olympics or world championships at the X Games.
Watching multiple extreme winter sporting events during the course of the weekend is an experience that is something for anyone to be wowed.
Anyone can stand just feet from the superpipe and watch skiers and snowboarders come flying by at an incredible rate of speed all while doing various tricks that seem to defy gravity.
All of the events at the X Games are free to the public and very close to the action.
Most athletes are so accessible that one might get the chance to have a picture taken with them, give them a high-five or share words of encouragement after they finish their run. You can connect with athletes in a way you cannot in most other spectator sports in this country.
Women’s superpipe gold medalist Kelly Clark said she has to focus on her riding while competing, but after she is done, she loves going through the crowd high-fiving and hugging all the fans waiting for her at the bottom of the superpipe.
One of the most unique things you will find about the games are the spectators.
Since the X Games has an international reach, it attracts many people from around the world. These spectators bring a certain style and energy to the games.
You might see a guy sporting a two-foot-tall spiked Mohawk that even the announcers pick up on and broadcast all over the world to almost 400 million homes.
There is a common theme to the X Games and it can be defined in one word, fun.
“Knowing that the event is free is awesome for everyone in Colorado,” fan Joshua Scott said. “We drive hundreds of miles with friends to enjoy an experience that happens every year but is always different with more amazing athletes. You’re there. The whole world is watching, but you’re in the heart of it seeing some of the greatest moments live. Celebrities and pros walk right by and act like normal people. It's just a great experience overall!”
Watching extreme sports isn’t the only attraction to Aspen during the X Games.
World-renowned artists Tiesto and Phoenix performed concerts at Wagner Park this year in downtown Aspen. This results in additional revenue for the city.
Since the games start in the morning and last until late night, it gives the 60,000-plus tourists a chance to enjoy the slopes during the day, experience après ski life and still attend the games for the main events at night.
The Winter X Games has produced many local athletes who ended up representing the United States in the Winter Olympics.
Charlotte has a rich bed of very talented athletes. What if the Summer X Games came here? We know Charlotte produces Olympians in other sports like kayaking and swimming just to name a few, but what if we can create new opportunities for young aspiring athletes who might not get a chance in the Olympics otherwise?
The X Games is socially responsible by taking a lead and encouraging conservation and recycling.
One of the major sponsors of the X Games, Repreve, is based in North Carolina. Repreve is a textile company that makes fabrics out of recycled plastic bottles for companies such as The North Face, Patagonia and Volcom.
Recycling during the week of the X Games is very apparent by the many recycling bins placed throughout the venue. The recycled material may eventually be used to make the clothing you wear on your next outing.
Not only does Aspen get the exposure during the week of the X Games, but ESPN plays highlights of the games and has programs about it throughout the year. The attention on Aspen continues all year long.
The same type of exposure can be placed on Charlotte if the summer games came here in the future.
With Charlotte hosting high-profile events like the Democratic National Convention and potentially with talk of other high-caliber events like the Republican National Convention or even the Super Bowl, bringing the X Games to Charlotte one day would give us another unique opportunity to showcase our city.