The 50 Gnarliest Pictures in Sports

Zack PumerantzAnalyst IIIMay 11, 2012

The 50 Gnarliest Pictures in Sports

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    Picture a chilly late afternoon on the slopes, snowflakes fluttering and birds sporadically chirping. As you cruise through the snowy serenity at intense speeds and prepare to launch off the upcoming ramp into the abyss, only one thing runs through your mind. Extreme.

    But you've been down this road before, and you're set to surpass radical and go far beyond any insane trick performed in the past. Extreme doesn't quite cut it. No, you're headed for the pinnacle of greatness. We like to call it gnarliness.

    Ok so perhaps the term gnarliness has yet to reach an actual dictionary, but you get the point.

    We're set to look at the 50 gnarliest pictures of athletes truly defying gravity and eclipsing extreme.

    Blonde manes and rebellious verbs like "frothing" and "bro-ing out" aren't required in gnarlyville.

    But some epic tunes are.

50. Human Art of Flying

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    So maybe Red Bull doesn't give you wings, but it certainly gives you courage.

49. Tundrous Surroundings

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    It's clear at this point he's frozen in time...call for backup.

48. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

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    Bro, you forgot your break pads.

47. The Rooney Tunes

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    The stunning bicycle kick perfected by Wayne Rooney himself. He will not be stopped.

46. Free Fallin'

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    Enjoying the intricate architecture one backflip at a time.

45. Deep Green Sea

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    Jaws finally shares his side of the story.

44. Trampling the Competition

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    Just another day at the office for this bull rider. We expect he's got a dentist appointment.

43. Trailing Greatness

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    Forked between immortality and failure. An epic moment captured.

42. Testing the Wind

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    For that one moment, he felt on top of the world.

    And then came the epic splash.

41. Preparing for Battle

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    Just offering his competitors a path to follow.

40. Flipping and Dipping

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    A new and possibly more effective form of warfare.

39. Old School Rugby

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    Pig-bladder perfection circa 1925.

    Synthetic rubber has taken over today's rugby balls.

38. A Glorious Ending

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    As the dirt scampers away and the muddy terrain braces for impact, one driver remains focused on the finish line.

37. Boarding the Wake

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    Solid form, 10s all around.

36. Shiny Descent

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    A slim reflection makes the shaving of the mountain seem almost natural.

35. The Speed of Soccer

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    Seems like the workings of an epic victory dance.

34. Dabbling in Greatness

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    When he kiteboards, the wind is always at his back.

    He is the most interesting man in the world.

33. The Beauty of Basketball

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    Who knew flagrant fouls could be so epic?

32. In-Flight Amenities

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    That's certainly another way to travel.

31. The Bengal Leap

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    As Jerome Simpson defied gravity, we quickly reached for the replay button.

30. A Carolina Delicacy

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    Footlong club with lettuce, tomato, onions, swiss and Titan. Please and thank you.

29. Living on a Prayer

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    Almost there, just a mile to go.

28. Eclipsing the Norm

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    OK, let's see. Picked up the dry cleaning? Check. Went grocery shopping? Check. Do a triple backflip and land 125 feet from the takeoff ramp? Check.

27. Collective Brilliance

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    Inspired by several synchronized-swimming bulls.

26. A Brazilian Bike Ride

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    Pele's unforgettable prowess is far from old news.

25. Taking a Second Look

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    More vibrant than most color-filled photographs. Embrace the violent subtlety.

24. Sky Is the Ceiling

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    Look Ma, no hands.

23. Death Race

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    Cell phone and wallet? Check. iPod? Check. Parachute? Uh oh.

22. MJ's Gift

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    Few possessed vision comparable to the man known simply as Air Jordan.

21. Soaring Towards Insanity

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    Just a man and his skis. That's all.

20. Changing Atmospheres

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    Each daredevil can feel the skin escaping their face, flopping for freedom.

19. Calming the Wilderness

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    Drugs for the eyeballs.

18. Scratching the Surface

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    This sandboarding phenomenon continues to intrigue us in the sandless crevices of the world.

17. The Ultimate Proposal

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    On second thought, the scripted snow reads madness.

16. For the Love of Fire

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    If only his girlfriend didn't live directly across the treacherous volcano down the block, this would be so much easier.

15. Jumping for Joy

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    Easily the most stunning tour this guy's ever been on.

14. Newton's Law

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    Gymnastics off a speeding plane. We can only hope the Olympic committee is making some phone calls right about now.

13. The Man, the Legend, the Ichiro

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    Willie Mays would applaud this performance.

12. Messing with Fate

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    Be careful, remember what the last guy who tried this did?

11. The Black and White Phenomenon

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    Ok Jim, let's try that one more time. But with a smile please.

10. Becoming One with Nature

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    He seems to be enjoying himself.

9. A Walk on the Wild Side

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    Walking on water is so last year.

8. Reaching the Pinnacle

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    Laughing down on all those who doubted him. Inches away from the clouds.

7. Music Makes You Luge Control

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    Beautiful and chaotic, very reflective of postmodern athletics.

6. A Day in the Life

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    Mixing calm serenity with natural greatness produces perfection. Nicely done.

5. Slicing and Dicing

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    Those waves never had a chance.

4. The Art of Free Running

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    Seagulls can fly, sure, but humans can parkour. Take that!

3. Luging a Grip

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    Thankfully Junior got a ride to school today. A calm, whining-free luge ride to the office.

2. Dr. Seuss' Dream

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    Maybe if the Grinch traveled to Whoville, he'd have been a legend.

1. City of Sandy

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    Just a casual ride to the supermarket across treacherous dunes and salty pastures.

    Carrying the groceries back should be interesting.