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Snowmobiler Death Spurs ESPN to Discontinue X Games Trick Events

X Games Medalist Caleb Moore
Caleb Moore poses for a portrait during the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. Moore, a four-time X Games medalist, was critically injured Jan. 24 at the games in Aspen, when he was struck by his 450-pound machine while attempting a backflip in the finals of the snowmobile freestyle competition. Photographer: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- ESPN has decided to discontinue snowmobile and motocross trick competitions at its X Games after a snowmobiler died in January following a crash.

The event in which the fatal accident occurred wasn’t cut from the schedule while it remains under review.

Caleb Moore, a four-time X Games medalist, was critically injured Jan. 24 at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, when he was struck by his 450-pound machine while attempting a backflip in the finals of the snowmobile freestyle competition. He died seven days later. Another rider in the Best Trick Competition in Aspen lost control of his snowmobile, which veered toward fans after its throttle stuck.

Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN network, which owns and televises the winter and summer X Games, said in a statement yesterday that snowmobile and moto X best trick competitions would no longer be staged, while officials are still reviewing whether to discontinue the snowmobile freestyle competition.

“This change reflects our decision to focus on motor sports disciplines which feature athletes who also compete in multiple, world-class competitions reflecting the highest degree of athlete participation, competitive development and the global nature of our X Games franchise,” ESPN said.

ESPN said it has made more than 60 changes to its competition lineups over 18 years of the X Games.

The network said last month that it would conduct a thorough review of the snowmobile events following Moore’s death. The skis on Moore’s snowmobile clipped the ground upon hitting the landing ramp after a backflip, throwing him headfirst over the handlebars. The machine then struck Moore, who was knocked unconscious.

Moore was diagnosed with a concussion and doctors later discovered bleeding around his heart. A family spokesman told ESPN that the cardiac injury led to a secondary complication involving Moore’s brain and he died on Jan. 31 at the age of 25, the first fatality in X Games history.

Moore had received a silver medal in the best trick competition at the 2012 X Games, when he broke his pelvis and tailbone in a crash during practice.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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