X-Games to stage global championship 

Whistler among sites considered for extreme games

Canada could at last realize its dreams for world domination, at least as far as action sports go, when the ESPN sports network hosts the first ever Global X Championships in a year’s time.

The format is similar to the Davis Cup of tennis, where regions compete against one another for the title. There will be six different teams at Global X, including the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia, and each region can submit two athletes for each sport.

There will be competitions for both summer and winter sports at two different venues. Whistler is in the running to host the winter sports.

For the summer action sports, the sites being considered include Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, Orlando’s Citrus Bowl and San Antonio’s Alamo Dome. Potential winter sites include Mammoth Mountain in California, and Whistler. Site selections are expected to be announced by the end of June.

"We’ve had a number of meeting with the people from ESPN, and a few weeks ago we shared our venue with them. It was a blue bird Whistler-Blackcomb day and they were very impressed," says Stuart Rempel, vice president of marketing and sales for Whistler-Blackcomb.

"They were excited to have an opportunity to work with Whistler-Blackcomb because this is the Mecca for a lot of the athletes who compete in the X Games competitions, and it’s a good location for them.

"We were excited to develop an extremely high profile event in May, probably on the long weekend. It will bring the best athletes from all over the world, and it’s a world class event. It will bring a lot of attention to Whistler-Blackcomb and the resort of Whistler at a time of year when we could use the attention."

Because there will be relatively few athletes competing, Whistler-Blackcomb is handling the negotiations with ESPN. If Whistler is selected, Rempel says the mountains will look for ways to involve the rest of the community and create a large event that attracts the attention of the ski and snowboard world.

"The opportunity to work with ESPN, and reach their massive audience, will be of great value to the resort," says Rempel.

The summer sports at Global X include vert ramp and park skateboarding, BMX and in-line skating, and freestyle Moto X. The winter sports include men’s and women’s superpipe competitions for both skiers and snowboarders.

ESPN will continue to run the Winter X Games and Summer X Games, giving the network major action sports events in winter, spring and summer.

While the U.S. typically dominates with more than 50 per cent of the medals during the Winter X Games and over 70 per cent of the medals during the summer events, the Americans also typically have more athletes in every competition. With only two athletes per event, per region, the playing field is a lot more level.

"With medals, prize money and global bragging rights on the line, this event will bolster new rivalries and strategy by incorporating two venues and an intriguing team element to action sports," says Ron Semiao, ESPN vice president, and programming and managing director for the Global X Games.

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