‘X’ marks the spot for Whistler athletes 

Whistler athletes are among the athletes selected to represent Canada at the first ever X-Games Global Championships on May 17.

The championships pit two athletes from each region against the world in various summer and winter X-Games events. The regions include Canada, the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.

While the X-Games and extreme sports are traditionally individual events, the organizers created the X-Games Global Championships to bring some patriotism into the mix.

The summer events will take place in San Antonio, Texas and the winter events on Whistler Mountain. There are 11 events in total, and only the winter sport events are open to both male and female competitors.

The athlete invitations were based on results from this season from a variety of different events, including the X-Games, the U.S. Open, various World Cups, and others.

On April 1, after months of anticipation, the list of athletes was announced.

Team Canada looks pretty good at this point, although with only the best of the best invited to compete, nobody is going to cakewalk their way onto a podium. For the most part the athletes are young, aggressive, and capable of winning medals on any given day.

In the Superpipe competition, Whistler rider Maelle Ricker and Vancouver’s Natasza Zurek will represent Canada on the women’s side. Both are members of the national team, and both have participated in the Olympics, on the World Cup circuit and in industry events like the X-Games, Van Triple Crown, and U.S. Open.

In the men’s Superpipe, the Canadian field was narrowed down to Whistler’s Trevor Andrew and Guillaume Morisset of Stoneham, Quebec. Both are past members of the national team, Olympians, and have similar competitive credentials to the Canadian women.

In the skier’s Superpipe, Sarah Burke will be representing Canada. Burke used to live in Whistler, but the 20-year-old, who is originally from Ontario, is skiing out of Mammoth this season. Burke was the first female skier to land a 1080 in a freeski competition, and is still the only competitor to consistently land 720s.

This year she was first in the U.S. Open Slopestyle and second in the U.S. Open halfpipe.

In the men’s Superpipe, two of the Phil’s, Philippe Belanger and Philippe Larose of Quebec City were chosen to represent Canada. Both are among the founders of the new school freeski movement, both have ample experience competing in premier events, and both are capable of winning the gold medal on any given day.

In the summer events, Canada has strong contenders in every event.

Jay Miron of Coquitlam, B.C., has won nine X-Games medals in the BMX competition, and has a good shot in the park event at San Antonio. He’ll be joined by Vancouver’s Dave Osato, an up and coming rider who rarely finishes outside the top-10 in any event.

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