The year in action sports, 2012
The year in action sports
We are about to turn the page on the year that was 2012 in action sports, but first we decided to take a look back at the biggest action-sports stories of the year. Starting in January 2012, the year got off to a rocky start following the death of female freeskier Sarah Burke. Eventually we rebounded, made it through a few X Games (and even a hurricane) and are about to enter into a huge year for action sports and the X Games. For those of you along for the ride, here's a quick look back at the year in action sports.
When freeskiing pioneer and Winter X Games champion Sarah Burke died on Jan. 19, 2012 from injuries sustained in a halfpipe crash, it affected the entire action-sports industry and beyond. A memorial set up in Burke's honor has raised more than $300,000.
Mike Tag, 1974-2012
In mid-April, FBM BMX pro and street-riding influential Mike Tag lost his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Following intense chemotherapy and an outpouring of support from the BMX world throughout 2011, Tag ultimately succumbed to the disease in Ithaca, N.Y. He was 37. To everyone he touched, he remains an invincible force -- a force that never compromised who he was and faced every challenge with the utmost bravery. A force that stared down triple-kinked handrails with ease. And a force that inspired all of us to be better people. In memoriam, FBM re-released a new version of his signature frame, the Night Train. The first batch sold out within days of its release.
Tom Schaar's 1080
In 1980, Steve Caballero invented the Caballerial: a fakie 360 ollie. In 1984, Mike McGill spun 540 with the McTwist. In 1985, Tony Hawk landed the 720 (fakie to forward). Fourteen years later, in 1999, Hawk landed the first 900 on vert. In 2012, almost 13 years after Hawk's 900, 12-year-old Tom Schaar landed the first 1080. Wow.
In the winter of 2012, 34 people died in avalanches in the U.S. and many more in other countries, including 11 in Nepal. As a result, avalanche awareness became more widespread, more people signed up for safety courses and sales of safety gear spiked.
Just when it seemed like Jamie Bestwick finally might have some challengers in BMX Vert, he reminded everyone at X Games Los Angeles what it meant to be untouchable. He led the contest by 14 points to complete just the second six-peat in X Games history in June. Bestwick's runs included new combos (downside tailwhip to turndown) and older tricks he had on reserve, including the flair double whip. Later in the summer, Bestwick won vert at the Dew Tour Beach stop with ease, taking his eighth consecutive overall BMX Vert title at the Dew Tour. No one else has ever won a Dew Cup, and at age 41, Jamie Bestwick remains unstoppable on the vert ramp.
Jacko strikes gold
Australian rider Jackson Strong celebrates after his first run in Best Trick at X Games Los Angeles at Staples Center. Strong won gold for the second consecutive year in the marquee event for Moto X at X Games.
X Games Rallycross
World Rallycross Championship legend Sebastien Loeb, who won his ninth consecutive WRC title later in the year, dropped in for X Games Los Angeles to school Global RallyCross drivers as he took the gold medal ahead of second-place Ken Block, left, and third-place Brian Deegan, right. Rallycross at X Games was marred by terrifying crashes during practice by Toomas Heikkinen and Marcus Grnholm and a crash in an early heat that ended Travis Pastrana's racing early.
When Forbes magazine released a list of the highest-paid celebrities under 30, Lil Wayne came in at number eight, earning close to $27 million in 2011. So when Wayne announced in 2012 that he was quitting the rap game to concentrate on skating, the world took notice. This year we saw videos of Lil Wayne skating at San Francisco's Double Rock skatepark, cruising around the course at Street League events, popping up at X Games Los Angeles and even opening a skatepark in his hometown of New Orleans. During a live chat at X Games, Wayne described waking up in the morning and thinking about skating and landing kickflips. Every skateboarder knows that feeling, and if it took Wayne 30 years to figure that out, so be it.
Garrett Reynolds five-peats twice
In June, Garrett Reynolds ventured to X Games Los Angeles, fell behind in points early on and then emerged in his final run to blow everyone away in BMX Street. When the scores were announced, Garrett Reynolds won his fifth consecutive gold medal in BMX Street. No one else has ever won BMX Street at X Games. In September, Reynolds continued his five-peat streak with his fifth consecutive Ride BMX Magazine NORA Cup Street Rider of the Year award. Others have won it before Reynolds, but no one in the 16-year history of the awards has earned the title five times in a row.
Brett Banasiewicz crashes
One week after winning the 2012 Dew Cup for BMX Park, DK pro Brett Banasiewicz crashed in Virginia Beach, Va., and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He remained unconscious for 15 days and eventually traveled to Atlanta to begin rehabilitation. After leaving Atlanta, Brett returned home for Thanksgiving and then entered the second phase of rehabilitation in Dallas. He is expected to make a full recovery, but his injury brought attention to the use of non-CPSC-certified helmets in BMX contests. With the help of the Athlete Recovery Fund, X Games and other competition organizers will now require the use of CPSC-certified helmets. Stay strong, Brett.
First Olympic qualifers
In preparation for ski slopestyle and halfpipe's Olympic debuts in Sochi, Russia, in 2014, the first Olympic qualifiers took place in fall 2012 in New Zealand and Australia. More countries created national teams and more freeski World Cups were added.
2012 Real Street
Fiolek overcame a five-point deficit in the season finale at Lake Elsinore, Calif., to claim her fourth Women's Motocross Championship title in five years.
Tom Sims, 1950-2012
Travis Pastrana holds back the urge to race.
Hurricane Sandy strikes
In a very rare weather phenomenon, Hurricane Sandy combined with a strong Atlantic low-pressure system and smashed right into New Jersey, leaving a path of destruction on the New Jersey and New York coasts 220 miles long. It has been called the second most devastating hurricane to hit the U.S., but the surf community is leading the charge to rebuild.
Joel Parkinson wins ASP World Title
After 12 years on tour and new ASP records for taking second place, Joel Parkinson finally captured a world title. After leading the pack the back half of the season without winning an event all year, he clinched it over Kelly Slater and also won the Billabong Pipeline Masters.