Winter X Games 16: Sarah Burke Honored as Athletes Shine

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIJanuary 28, 2012

ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 27:  A sign is posted in the halfpipe commemorating skier Sarah Burke at the Winter X Games 2012 at Buttermilk Mountain on January 27, 2012 in Aspen, Colorado. Burke died January 19, 2012 from injuries sustained in a skiing accident.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Along with all of the pageantry and tremendous athleticism being shown at the Winter X Games, the athletes have done a fantastic job paying tribute to the late Sarah Burke. 

That is not easy to do. All of these athletes are performing with extremely heavy hearts; they are thinking about Burke, but also participating in events that put their own safety at risk. 

The fact that they have been able to go out and perform at such a high level shows how great they are, not only as athletes, but as performers. 

Roz Groenewoud told Colin Bane of ESPN that Burke was heavy on her mind as she won the Ski SuperPipe Event, which Burke was a participant in. 

After the tribute for Sarah on Thursday I was just so proud to be a skier. The outpouring of love from the community was just absolutely amazing, and Friday morning in training and all of today I just tried to let all of that love lift me up. It feels so great. I definitely felt like I had Sarah with me. She was my teammate for so long.

The majority of the skiers in that event wore a bright red sticker that said "Sarah." 

Women's snowboard halfpipe champ Kelly Clark also paid a nice tribute. She had a sticker that said "Celebrate Sarah" during her performance and, according to PlanetSki, also dedicated her win to Burke.

This is a tremendous tribute, not only to Burke, but to the sport itself. There is no way around the tragedy that hit when Burke died. Those who knew her and even casual fans are going to feel a lot of hurt and sadness. The last thing anyone ever wants to do is try to forget about what happened. The stickers and dedications are a perfect way to pay tribute.

Another way to pay tribute is to go out and put on a tremendous show, which all of these athletes have done. We see time and time again when unspeakable tragedies happen, sports are a necessary distraction. 

That is a great way to pay tribute to both Burke and fans all around the globe. They need to be commended for not only keeping Burke in their memories, but also for putting on a great show.