Sports 101

Espn's X games. it's the wildest event in sports. Think of it as a 10-day alternative-sports festival that includes bicycle stunts, street luge, sport climbing, aggressive in-line skating, and skysurfing. More than 450 of the top alternative athletes compete for almost $1 million in prize money in this extreme sport competition in San Francisco. The event kicked off June 25 and will continue through the July 4th weekend.

Q: When were the X Games launched?

A: In 1995. It was ESPN's response to the growing popularity of in-line skating, skateboarding, and stunt bicycle riding.

Q: What is the most expensive and youngest sport of the X Games?

A: Skysurfing, which celebrates its seventh birthday. The high cost of taking practice jumps and buying equipment puts the sport out of reach for most athletes. For each of the last two years, a United States-based team averaged $40,000-$50,000 for equipment, training, traveling, and competing. Each jump costs about $18 in the US and the top pro teams make about 500 jumps a year. The costs include a parachute rig, $4,000-$5,000; jumpsuit, $300; camera helmet, $300-$700; and digital camcorder, $2,000-$3,000.

Q: What is wakeboarding?

A: Formerly known as skurfing, wakeboarders ride in a boat's wake on a smaller version of a surfboard and perform tricks and stunts like 360-degree rotations, front-flip rotations, and back flips.

Q: What extreme sport uses the terms scrambled eggs, flowing water, and banana?

A: Street luge.

Scrambled eggs: Road-surface conditions that are bad, but usable.

Flowing water: The ultimate riding style, as smooth and efficient as water flowing downhill.

Banana: A luger who wipes out often.

*Please send comments to parneyl@csps.com

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