Travis Pastrana: Why Extreme Sports Legend is Still Must-See TV

Scott Bischoff@@Bischoff_ScottCorrespondent IIJune 28, 2012

FORT WORTH, TX - JUNE 08:  Travis Pastrana, driver of the #99 Dodge Red Bull Rallycross/Pastrana 199 Racing 2013 Dodge Dart, looks on during practice for the Hoon KaboomTX Global Rallycross Championship at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Travis Pastrana is one of the most recognizable, exciting athletes in the world today.

His achievements are legendary, but in some ways he is just beginning. Pastrana is a whirlwind of excitement and you can’t take your eyes off of him. He is capable of just about anything, at any given time.

Pastrana was born October 8, 1983 in Annapolis, Maryland. He was riding a motorcycle as a four-year old and showed the world what he could do in 1998 as a 14 year-old.

Pastrana won the World Freestyle Championships at 14 and he was just getting started.

According to his own biography, Pastrana’s accomplishments are: world freestyle champion at age 14, five-time U.S. amateur motocross champion, two-time Canadian amateur motocross champion, youngest rider ever to represent the United States at the Motocross des Nations in France, 125cc pro national outdoor champion, 125cc East Supercross Series champion and most successful competitor in the history of X Games freestyle motocross.

Pastrana has made his mark in many different ways, but his rise to stardom came from the X Games.

At the X Games, Pastrana has won a variety of medals in motocross, freestyle motocross and supercross. Pastrana is a 10-time X Games gold medalist.

His career is loaded with firsts.

In 1999, Pastrana won the first ever MotoX freestyle event at the X games. Pastrana scored 99.00 points and it is the highest score ever recorded.

In the 2000 X Games, he was the first rider to ever attempt a backflip on a motorcycle in competition.

In 2002 at the Summer Gravity Games, he was the first rider to ever successfully land a backflip in competition. In 2003, he was one of the first riders to successfully land a 360 in competition.

In the 2006 X Games, he became the first rider to perform the double backflip, scoring a 98.60, the highest score ever in the Best Trick competition.

He won three gold medals at a single X Games event. Pastrana won gold in MotoX Best Trick, MotoX Freestyle and Rally Car Racing.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 28:  Travis Pastrana attempts his jump in the Moto X Best Trick Final during day 1 of the X Games 17 at the Staples Centrer on July 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Pastrana could not land his jump and left with an injury.  (Pho
Harry How/Getty Images

In 2003, Pastrana added racing cars to his list of tricks, and his rallying career was born.

He has had great success as in the Rally America series. In 2005, he finished in fourth place; a very impressive showing for a rookie.

Pastrana would go on to dominate the series, finishing first in four straight yearsfrom 2006-2009.

In 2010, Pastrana would finish third. That was be his last year of rallying.

Pastrana continues to push the envelope, making his NASCAR debut in 2011 at the Toyota All-Star Showdown, finishing sixth. Pastrana made plans to compete in the 2011 Nationwide Series.

In the 2011 X Games, Pastrana was seriously injured attempting to land a trick called the Rodeo 720. The trick failed and he landed on his right leg, breaking his foot and his ankle.

His NASCAR plans would have to wait.

He finally competed in a Nationwide series event on April 27, 2012. He competed in the Richmond 250, finishing No. 22. According to David Newton of espn.com, Pastrana’s first career Nationwide race was an overwhelming success.

Pastrana plans on racing in more NASCAR events in 2012. Geoffrey Miller of yahoosports.com has reported that Pastrana plans on running in races at Darlington, Charlotte, New Hampshire, Chicagoland, Indianapolis and Atlanta.

He also continues to dazzle with his attempts.

On January 1, 2010, Pastrana set a world record in ramp-to-ramp car jump. He smashed the old record of 171 feet, jumping a total of 269 feet.

Pastrana was featured in a Fuel TV show titled Nitro Circus; a collaboration of stunt performers who performed very dangerous stunts.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 04:  Travis Pastrana performs a motorcycle stunt during the Nitro Circus on June 4, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Bryan Haraway/Getty Images for Michael Waltrip Racing)
Bryan Haraway/Getty Images

Nitro Circus 3D, a movie, is set to be released on August 10, 2012.

It features Pastrana and the Nitro Circus crew performing some of the craziest stunts ever caught on camera.

Pastrana has had significant injuries in his career, but he has always bounced back. At 14 years old, he separated his spine from his pelvis when he crashed his bike. He was in a wheel chair for three months.

He has torn just about everything in his left knee, broken his tibia and fibula. He has had surgery on his left wrist twice, his left thumb and his back twice.

He has also has surgery on his right elbow, his left knee nine times and his right knee six times. He has also had a shoulder surgery.

Through it all, Pastrana keeps going. That is what endears him to his fans across all genres of sport.

He has been showcased because of his willingness to try new tricks, sometimes with horrendous outcomes.

His desire to be the first to do something is why we all watch, as the results are always incredible.


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