X Games ends Moto X best trick, snowmobile events

DENVER (AP) — The X Games will no longer feature the snowmobile or Moto X best trick competitions.

ESPN, which sanctions and televises the X Games, announced the cancellations Tuesday. The X Games still plans to hold other snowmobile events at Winter X, along with motorcycle competitions at Summer X.

The safety of snowmobiles came under scrutiny after two incidents in January in Aspen, Colo., including the death of Caleb Moore from injuries he sustained when his 450-pound sled rolled over him after a backflip gone wrong during a freestyle competition. It was the first death in the 18-year history of the X Games.

Later, in best trick — the discipline that was eliminated — a snowmobiling newcomer tumbled off his machine after a failed maneuver, only to have the throttle stick when it landed and the snowmobile veer into the crowd as fans scrambled to get out of the way. No one was seriously injured.

ESPN said in a statement released Tuesday: “This change reflects our decision to focus on motor sports disciplines which feature athletes who also compete in multiple, world-class competitions (e.g., professional events and tours) reflecting the highest degree of athlete participation, competitive development and the global nature of our X Games franchise.”

ESPN spokesman Danny Chi explained in an e-mail the elimination of the best trick discipline was under consideration before Aspen and “our review of snowmobile freestyle continues.”

“We will focus on motor sports disciplines that engage athletes who consistently compete in multiple global competitions reflective of the global reach of X Games,” Chi wrote in the e-mail.

Winter X officials recently scratched a snowmobile freestyle demonstration later this month in Tignes, France, so organizers could review safety protocols.

Moore stayed down for quite some time after his crash before walking off with help and going to a hospital to be treated for a concussion. He developed bleeding around his heart and was flown to a hospital in Grand Junction for surgery. The family later said Moore, of Krum, Texas, also had a complication involving his brain.

He died a week after his accident Jan. 31. He was 25.

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