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Extreme Sports

Extreme Sports

Sports characterized by high speed and high risk are called extreme sports.  Perhaps the most familiar extreme sport, bungee jumping, was first done in 1979.  Most extreme sports did not gain popularity until the 1990s.

The first X Games (called the Extreme Games) were held in 1995.  As with the Olympic Games, winners were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals.  These events were featured in those first X Games:

Skateboarding: riding and doing stunts while balanced on a small board mounted on wheels

Bungee Jumping: leaping from a great height, such as a bridge or cliff, while connected to a large elastic cord

Roller Blading/Inline Skating: performing stunts and tricks while wearing shoes which have 4 to 5 wheels all single file

Mountain Biking: riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes

Sky Surfing: a skydiver attaches a specially made sky "surfboard" to his/her feet to perform acrobatic stunts in the air

Street Luging: a gravity-powered activity that involves riding a wheeled board down a paved road or course

Originally an extreme sport, snowboarding – where a person rides down any snow-covered surface while standing on a board – has been an event in the Winter Olympics since 1998.  Skateboarding will be included in the Tokyo Summer Olympic games in 2021.  Skateboarding began long before anyone heard of extreme sports.  One feature of the event is the half-pipe, a U-shaped structure used by skateboarders, BMXers, and inline skaters.

One could argue that skydiving is the oldest extreme sport.  The first parachute jump happened in France when a hot-air balloonist jumped from his balloon at 3,200 feet.  It wasn’t until the early 20th century that people did parachuting for recreation, and, of course, in wartime, many soldiers had to jump out of planes with a parachute.  Skydiving (or free-falling, the part of the jump before the parachute opens) became an extreme sport in the 1960s.
Since extreme sports can be dangerous, most participants wear helmets, gloves, and padding.  These protections will come in handy when people do these extreme sports:

Bouldering: rock climbing done on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses

Wingsuiting: flying through the air using a special suit, sometimes called "birdman suits", "squirrel suits", or "bat suits"

Paragliding: flying lightweight, free-flying, motorless aircraft

BASE jumping: jumping from fixed objects like bridges or cliffs, using a parachute to descend safely to the ground

Freestyle BMX: performing stunts on a motocross bicycle

Extreme Sports are not for everyone, and some are more extreme than others.  Have you ever tried one?  Better ask your mom first.

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