The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 5, 2013

Re-examining an entire sport

(Continued)

DENVER —

“We permit so many events and they’re all so different in nature, too,” said Mike Kraemer, a planner for the department that handles special event permits in Aspen. “We’ve never had machines go into the crowd. We may need to ask, ‘How can you mitigate for those types of actions?”’

That question, along with equally big issues of rider safety, will be on ESPN’s plate over the upcoming year.

“ESPN’s Safety and Security departments go through a diligent review of all venues for the safety of staff, athletes and spectators,” Scott Guglielmino, ESPN’s senior vice president of Programming and X Games, said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

Among the core issues network officials will have to discuss is whether the thrills, spills and ratings provided by snowmobile tricks are worth the risks that became so apparent in Aspen last month. ESPN’s average of 1.1 million viewers for nine telecasts hovers around the same area as the PGA Tour but below that for NBA telecasts.

Snowmobile jumping is hardly the first sport in which athletes willingly subject themselves to severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries. But even sports such as football and NASCAR, which are an ingrained part of American culture, have been under pressure in recent years to improve safety.

“I guess the question is, do we acknowledge that there are certain sports that are so established that danger has become a fact of life, and are we OK adding more to that list?” said Robert Thompson, a professor who studies popular culture at Syracuse. “But certainly if we said we should not legitimize a sport where the possibility of serious injury or death is there, then we’d have to look carefully at some beloved institutions in this country.”

Sporting high-wire acts used to be the domain of Evel Knievel, whose jumps across the fountains at Caesar’s Palace and elsewhere made news not only because of their intrepidness, but because he had a willing media partner in ABC, which put them on “Wide World of Sports.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Big 12 Media Days Football Most Big 12 squads won’t shy from tough non-conference

    DALLAS — Never have the words “Final Four” been used so often at a football media gathering. Monday at Big 12 Football Media Days, the College Football Playoff was the hot topic. On Dec. 7, the 12-member panel will announce the best four ...

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commish forecasts end of college sports as we know them

    You really have to read everything Bob Bowlsby said Monday, because kicking off Big 12 Football Media Days, all the conference commissioner did was not only predict the end of college sports as we know them, but explain with fairly ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Tour leader Nibali says he’s ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

    CARCASSONNE, France — Barring a disaster for him on French roads from now until Sunday, the man who looks set to win the Tour de France says he understands that cycling is still paying for its longtime doping plague....

    July 22, 2014

  • McIlroy will emerge even stronger than ever

    HOYLAKE, England — The celebration began long before Rory McIlroy had a chance to drink out of the claret jug....

    July 22, 2014

  • Petrino ushers Louisville into ACC

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bobby Petrino turned Louisville into a top-10 team nearly a decade ago. Now, more than two years after a scandal derailed his career, Petrino is back with the Cardinals as they enter the Atlantic Coast Conference....

    July 22, 2014

  • Bowlsby:Changes come with a price

    DALLAS — Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby spoke in a reserved tone Monday. But what he said to begin the Big 12 Football Media Days news conference painted a bleak future for college athletics....

    July 22, 2014

  • Stewart still riding high

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart heads into the busiest week of his year riding high from a win in his return to sprint car racing. Stewart raced in a sprint car last weekend for the first time since he broke his leg in an extracurricular ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Witness: Sterling must sell to pay debts

    LOS ANGELES — The chief financial officer of Donald Sterling’s properties said Monday that the billionaire may be forced to sell a large portion of his real estate empire to cover $500 million in loans if he persists in refusing to sell ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Mikolas pitches Rangers past sloppy Yankees

    NEW YORK — Miles Mikolas earned his first win as a starter, pitching into the eighth inning Monday night and leading the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the sloppy New York Yankees. Trailing by a run with none on and two outs in the ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Angels with latest big move before deadline

    Oakland general manager Billy Beane acted boldly, trading top prospect Addison Russell in a deal that brought starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics....

    July 22, 2014

Facebook