X Games Tignes 2013 Snowboard SuperPipe gold medalist Louie Vito will be pulling double duty at X Games 2014 Aspen next week, joining ESPN and ABC as co-host of the X Games Aspen telecast in between training and competition runs in the pipe at Buttermilk in Aspen, Colo. Action sports personality Brandon Graham will also be doubling up, co-hosting the telecast and providing play-by-play commentary from the snowboard events.
"This is perfect because the two things I love the most are to snowboard and to talk," Vito joked, just before the official announcement, as he prepared for both his new hosting duties and his competition runs this week at the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., home of the final three events in the 2014 U.S. Olympic team selection process. Vito finished fifth in the pipe at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and has not yet secured his position for the trip to Sochi.
Having a competitor co-host the telecast is a new twist for X Games: Vito will compete in the Men's Snowboard SuperPipe elimination round Thursday and will almost certainly make the cut for Sunday's finals. He's advanced to finals in seven of his nine X Games appearances and is a perennial podium favorite thanks to back-to-back-to-back double cork spin variations in his run. X Games spokeswoman Grace Coryell said Vito is not assigned to a specific event and will likely not be hosting the telecast during his own event, but will be appearing throughout the 16 hours of planned televised event coverage from Aspen.
"I have always been a huge supporter of X Games since I was a kid, so I was stoked at the opportunity to join the ESPN/X Games family," Vito said in a statement Thursday. "I look forward to bringing insight to the fans watching worldwide from a current rider."
For Graham, the co-host gig is a promotion after previously providing play-by-play coverage of the men's and women's Skateboard Street competitions at each Global X Games event in 2013. Graham was also host of Late Night Action, ESPN's first action sports radio show, as well as Inside X and the X Games Athlete Chat series for X Games Digital.
"Becoming the host of X Games is truly the opportunity of a lifetime," Graham said in a statement Thursday. "I'm honored to call a legend like Louie Vito my partner in this adventure and look forward to being a part of an incredible team that will provide dynamic content for audiences across the globe."
The telecast team also includes ESPN reporters Alyssa Roenigk and Jamie Little, snowboard analysts Keir Dillon and Zach Crist, ski analyst Mike Douglas and ski play-by-play announcer Chris Ernst, snowmobile analyst Chris Burandt -- who is also competing in the Snowmobile Long Jump event -- and snowmobile play-by-play announcer Tes Sewell.
"ESPN and ABC will televise a combined 16 hours of live X Games Aspen competition in high definition, which will also be accessible via WatchESPN and WatchABC to viewers who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider," Thursday's news release from ESPN said. "An additional 10 hours of competition will be carried on ESPN3 as well as the latest coverage across ESPN digital platforms, including XGames.com, X Games app, X Games pages across Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and more."
X Games 2014 Aspen begins on Thursday, Jan. 23.