The 2014 Winter Olympics may be just around the corner, but for the snowboarding world there is a very important pit stop before Sochi.
Does Shaun White dropping out dampen your excitement about the X Games?
That pit stop is the 19th edition of the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo. Unfortunately, the X Games will not feature the biggest name in snowboarding in Shaun White, after he elected to back out of competition in the Snowboard SuperPipe and Snowboard Slopestyle to focus on the upcoming Olympics.
It certainly wasn’t an easy decision for White, who has fought through ankle and shoulder injuries during Olympic qualifying events, as he told Colin Bane of ESPN:
I've been competing in the X Games since I was 13 years old, they are a huge part of why I am where I am and they are vital to the sport. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the mountain and looked over the schedule, I knew I wasn't going to be able to complete the kind of training I know I need in order to prepare for Sochi. It's an incredibly tough decision for me and it's not something I take lightly, especially as ESPN has always been a great supporter, but I have to make sure I'm prepared for the Olympics.
White or not, the X Games must go on. Here is the schedule, highlighting Day 2 of the competitions:
Where: Buttermilk Mountain, Aspen, Colo.
When: Thursday, Jan. 23, to Sunday, Jan. 26
Watch: ABC, ESPN and ESPN3
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|Jan. 24||12:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. ET||Men's and Women's Boarder X Final||ESPN 3|
|Jan. 24||12:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. ET||Men's Ski SlopeStyle Elimination||ESPN 3|
|Jan. 24||7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. ET||Women's Ski SuperPipe Final||ESPN 3|
|Jan. 24||9 p.m. - 12 a.m. ET||America's Navy Snowboard Big Air Final||ESPN 3|
|Jan. 24||9 p.m. - 12 a.m. ET||Men's Ski SuperPipe Final||ESPN 3|
|Jan. 24||10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. ET||America's Navy Snowboard Big Air Final||ESPN/WatchESPN|
|Jan. 24||10:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. ET||Men's Ski SuperPipe Final||ESPN/WatchESPN|
Day 2 is loaded with medal events, including the Snowboard Big Air final and the men’s and women’s Ski SuperPipe finals.
The name to watch on the men’s side is David Wise, who qualified first in the Ski SuperPipe eliminations with a vast array of tricks and impressive air time. However, it is much more than just his formidable qualifying run that makes Wise the main attraction.
The 23-year-old won the gold medal at the 2012 and 2013 X Games in Aspen in Ski SuperPipe and is well on his way to defending his medals.
It was Maddie Bowman who won gold in Aspen in the 2013 X Games for women’s Ski SuperPipe and, much like Wise, will seek to defend her crown. She won silver in 2012 and will look to continue her momentum going forward.
Day 2 will also feature the men’s and women’s Boarder X Finals in the early events. What is notable about the Boarder X is the fierce rivalry between Nate Holland and Seth Wescott.
Holland’s resume is more than impressive. He won gold in the Snowboarder X competitions at the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 X Games, while taking home the bronze in the 2011 X Games. He may be 35 years old, but it will take an incredible performance to take down Holland, who has built something of a personal dynasty in this event.
Wescott doesn’t have the gold medals that Holland does, but he did win the silver in the 2004, 2005 and 2010 competitions and the bronze in 2007.
These two friends and veterans will square off in what could be the tightest competition in all of Day 2.