Sarah Burke: How Winter X Games Should Honor Innovative Skier Following Tragedy

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIJanuary 20, 2012

COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO - DECEMBER 09:  Sarah Burke of Canada skis to seventh place in the halfpipe finals of the FIS Freestyle World Cup at the VISA US Freeskiing Grand Prix on December 9, 2011 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

There is nothing anyone can do or say to help take the pain caused by the tragic death of Sarah Burke away. The only thing that can be done is to go out and put on a great show.

When that begins to happen, the only true tribute will be paid.  

No real classic tributes exist. Sure, we'll get the video tributes and moments of silence, but nothing beyond that can be done in the way of a traditional tribute. The fact is that this is a tragic accident, and it will take a long time to heal. 

The athletes are going to be hurting from the loss of a friend and competitor. What they can best do to pay tribute to Burke is to go out there with fearless performances. Really, that is the only thing that can be done. 

It will be uneasy to watch any high-flying event. There is no way around that. But the athletes can help ease some of that uncomfortable feeling by going out there and performing. The pain will be eased with every athlete that takes off. 

Action sports must learn from this tragedy and take better precautions. That usually comes in the form of slowing a track down or making a turn a little less sharp. Burke's crash was an accident and fortunately doesn't happen often, but safety must always come first.

So, the only way to honor Burke's memory is to run the show as normal. Certainly the tragedy can't be forgotten, and it shouldn't be. That is what the moments of silence are there for. There will be plenty of reminders of the loss, and there should be.

But a tribute to Burke will also come in the form of a strong performance. The athletes need to go out there and perform with the same fearlessness that was shown before Burke's death. That will allow the athletes and fans alike to begin the permanent healing process.