X Games Athlete Profile: Ryan Sheckler


Aside from Tony Hawk, Ryan Sheckler is probably the most well-known skateboarder in America, if not the world. Although Sheckler is one of the premier skateboarders today, his international stardom is owed to his hit MTV reality show “Life of Ryan,” which has been on since 2007. Still only 19, Sheckler has won numerous competitions and is already being compared to some of the greats.

Born in San Clemente, CA, Sheckler was born into a family that supported his interest in skateboarding. His father, Randy, who was an old school skateboarder, had earlier built a skate park in the family’s backyard, which included a half pipe, table tops, and grind rails. It was here that Sheckler honed his craft.

During the summer of 1995, Randy built a quarter pipe and Ryan soon mastered that as well. A few years later Ryan joined the CASL (California Amateur Skateboarding League) and won the first contest he entered. Tony Hawk saw his performance and offered to practice with Sheckler. Their relationship continued, and after Sheckler had won every single CASL competition from 1997-2001, he signed his first eyewear sponsorship with Arnette (who Hawk was also with).

In 2003, at the age of 13, Sheckler became the youngest skateboarder to ever turn pro. That year he won at the X Games, Gravity Games, Vans Triple Crown, Slam City Jam. Sheckler remains the youngest athlete to ever win a gold medal at the X Games.

Sheckler currently rides for Plan B skateboards and is sponsored by Etnies Shoes, Bones Wheels, FKD Bearings, Nixon Watches, Oakley Eyewear, Red Bull, Volcom Stone Clothing and Panasonic.

News and Commentary

GrindTV.com profile

Red Bull USA profile



Sheckler at his private skatepark

Sheckler rides the Mega Ramp

Sheckler becomes youngest gold medalist at the X Games

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X Games Athlete Profile: Adam Jones

Adam Jones

At only 24 years of age, Adam Jones is already one of the top riders in professional motocross. Interestingly enough, the Warrendale, PA, native didn’t get on a bike until he was 10 years old. Since then, however, it’s been all uphill. Jones spent seven years in the racing scene before an injury forced him to take a year off. He used that time to re-evaluate his perspective on racing. Realizing that he was taking the sport too seriously, he came back with the attitude of trying to have more fun. It was then that Jones decided to take his chances on the IFMA Freestyle Motocross Circuit.

Jones first garnered some attention at an IMFA X Games qualifier where he performed well enough to take the last position. This was to be the start of Jones’ success. Jones took a gold medal at the 2007 X Games and it remains the crowning achievement in his career. Adam’s dominance in 2007 was recognized as he was named the 2007 International Rider of the Year as well as the prestigious 2007 Transworld Motocross Rider of the Year. Since then, Jones has consistently finished in the top three positions at most of the competitions he enters.

Jones has been criticized in the past for sometimes giving a lackluster performance. Some days he might leave everyone in awe while others he simply leaves the fans wanting more. Nevertheless, when he’s on his game he is obviously one of the most creative riders out there. Jones’ repertoire includes great let-go stunts, big bar tricks, and excellent extension.

Adam’s sponsors are Fox Racing, DC Shoes, Smith Optics, Monster Energy Drink, OGIO, Maxxis, Pro Taper, Pro Circuit, Factory Connection. He rides a Yamaha YZ 250.

News and Commentary

Official website

Jones wins the Vans Invitational

GrindTV.com page

Jones in Vienna


X Games 13 Gold Medal Run

X Games 12 Best Trick Finals

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White Sox acquire Peavy from Padres in exchange for four pitchers

The White Sox traded for Jake Peavy again, only this time the deal actually went through as the former San Diego starter agreed to waive his no-trade clause. Chicago will be on the hook for all of Peavy’s contract, which means they’ll pay him $56 million by the end of 2012 and even more after that if they agree to pay his club option in 2013.

In exchange for their one-time ace, the Padres acquired left-handed pitchers Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard, as well as right-handers Dexter Carter and Adam Russell. It’s essentially the same deal that the two teams agreed to in May, although this time the Sox included Richard, who wasn’t in the original offer.

According to Peavy’s agent Barry Axelrod, the ace signed off on the trade because there was no guarantee that the Cubs or Dodgers (his preferred teams) would have made a move for him in the offseason.

This move is surprising on the part of the White Sox seeing as how Peavy probably won’t pitch again the rest of the season, yet Chicago is still on the hook for all of his salary. Then again, with Peavy under contract through 2012 (and possibly 2013), GM Kenny Williams clearly made this move for the future (albeit at the risk of surrendering a massive amount of pitching depth).

You knew Williams wasn’t going to stand pat and let the deadline go by without making a move and he certainly one-upped the division rival Detroit, who acquired starter Jarrod Washburn today. He has always been a bit of a gambler and if Peavy returns to full health and makes the Sox a winner (whether that means a World Series winner or otherwise), maybe we’ll look back on this trade and commend Williams for making such a bold move.

That said, this was a massive risk by Williams. For starters, there’s only about a 50-50 chance that Peavy will pitch again this season. So not only is there a decent possibility that the Sox won’t get any use out of him this season, but they also paid a higher price for him now then they did when the deal didn’t go through in May because they included Richard.

Even though they gave up their ace and a popular player, San Diego and their fans have to be happy with the haul they got from Chicago. It’s not like the Padres had to sweetener their offer in order to get Richard too; they’re still giving up the same piece (Peavy) to acquire more than they would have in May.

Well done, Kevin Towers.

Indians trade Victor Martinez to Red Sox

The Red Sox had their sites set on possibly acquiring Padres’ slugger Adrian Gonzalez at the start of the day on Friday, but wound up trading for Indians’ catcher Victor Martinez instead.

In a completely separate deal, Boston also swapped first baseman with the Braves, acquiring Casey Kotchman for Adam LaRoche.

In this trade, the Tribe will receive right-hander Justin Masterson and minor league pitchers Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price. Masterson was Boston’s second-round pick in 2006, going 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 31 appearances including six starts this season. He also went 6-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 36 games last year after being called up from the minors.

Hagadone was drafted No. 55 overall by the Sox in ’07 and missed most of the ’08 season after having Tommy John surgery. Price was the No. 45 overall pick in ’08 and has struggled thus far in the minors.

For Boston not to have to give up Clay Buchholz in trade for V-Mart was huge. Martinez is a nice upgrade and adds pop to a Red Sox lineup that desperately needs it, but Boston would have overpaid in a deal involving Buchholz. Now with Martinez and Kotchman, they have options to play with regarding both their lineup and defense, where V-Mart will likely split time at both catcher and first base.

As for Cleveland, it’s hard to determine if they got good value in this deal or not – and we may not know that answer for a couple of years, just like we won’t know if they got good value in the Cliff Lee trade.

Pundits seem to like Masterson, but he seems to struggling against left-handers and really only has two pitches. Hagadone is a hard throwing reliever who could blow through the minors but he’s also coming off of Tommy John surgery and will likely start off in Double-A next year. Price is only 22, but he has struggled so far in the minors.

So if you’re an Indians fan, you’ve got to be in flux right now. Your team traded away its best pitcher and its most popular position player outside of Grady Sizemore, but got a slew of prospects that may or may not develop. You’re club is building hope for the future, but the future may be three or four more years away and who’s to say that once all of this pitching develops that you might not have any hitting at that time? Then you’re just the San Francisco Giants of the American League.

Every Tribe fan across the nation must be sighing right now and saying to themselves, “We’ll see.”

By the way, it’s Victor Martinez bobble head night in Cleveland tomorrow. Whoops…

X Games 15 Preview

X Games

XG15 is under way in Los Angeles.

ESPN previews four different events

Skateboarding: “A confluence of factors makes this year’s Street competition one of the most fascinating to date. To begin with, there’s Ryan Sheckler. Arguably the most recognizable skater on earth, Sheckler comes to Los Angeles hot off a Dew Tour win, and the prototype for competition dominance. But a sagging economy has lured hardcore street skaters who normally focus on producing film segments to take a shot on the sport’s biggest stage. Can guys like Mike Mo Capaldi, Darrell Stanton and Nick Dompierre establish a new competition benchmark? And can any of them stop 15-year-old Chaz Ortiz from making the whole field look old?”

Moto X: “In an event known for big names, perhaps none is bigger than James Stewart. The 23-year-old motocross superstar is on pace to shatter the all-time record for Supercross wins, but first he’s making his first pit stop at X Games. James is known internationally not just for his dominance, but also his breaking down of racial barriers as the sport’s first African-American champion. The X Games gives Stewart the opportunity to test his newfound acceptance of his own fame with a whole new fan base.”

BMX: “Now that Dave Mirra has joined the Action Sports Retirement Tour (otherwise known as the Rally America Championship), it would seem he’s ready finally to cede the X Games BMX stage to other riders, except he’s still competing in both Park and Big Air and remains a gold-medal threat in both. He’s already the most decorated BMX rider in X Games history; will he pad his lead at XG15?”

Rally: “Travis Pastrana has won two of the three X Games Rally events, and his healthy lead in the 2009 Rally America Championship indicates he’s driving as well as ever. The flip side of Pastrana’s consistency is Ken Block, who’s considered the fastest driver in North America, but with a reputation for recklessness that has cost him wins in the past. In six Rally America championships this year, Block has won twice, finished second once and failed to finish three times. Whether or not he can finally break through for X Games gold after winning two bronzes and a silver in the past three might be the most fascinating question at XG15.”

ESPN also has coverage of the ever-elusive front flip, marketing guru Ken Block, 15-year-old skateboarder Chaz Ortiz, supercross star James Stewart and BMXer Van Homan.

You can watch a well-made trailer right here as well.

The Los Angeles Times has also run a series of stories detailing the this year’s events.

On risk, injury, and death

On James Stewart’s debut

On women’s skateboarding

On Jake Brown’s aerial displays

Lastly, I think James Stewart sums up the excitement of the events perfectly in this quote:

“The average person always thinks soccer, football and basketball players are the toughest athletes. But man, I think the guys that come to the X Games are probably some of the most gnarly and talented athletes in the world.”

You can catch the games all week on ESPN and ESPN2.

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