In every sport comes the feeling of pressure and excitement. The surge of energy to beat the clock winding down, the rush of adrenaline to overtake a leading opponent, or the sudden motivation to perform an incredible move to determine the decisive moment. The instance when the impossible is achieved is what every athlete lives for, where anything can happen, and everything is possible.
However, some are not satisfied with such excitement, and can’t help but crave for more. Some go beyond safety just for the ecstatic kick. Extreme sports are activities which involves a high level of danger. It often consists of altitude, speed, or extreme physical exertion, and courage and risk are a necessity. Unlike most sports, extreme sports are more dangerous and require exotic skills, specialized gear, and safety equipment. Even professionals are at a high risk of hurting themselves from minor mistakes, as both overconfidence and a lack of knowledge about these activities may easily result in an accident. Nevertheless, extreme sports are now widely known across the planet.
Jumping from a plane and listening to the pounding of your heart is skydiving. Skydivers fall for about a minute from 10,000 feet above ground. Skydiving requires good weather to be performed and one must always have a back-up parachute for safety. Some events include landing close to a target, doing acrobatic tricks in free fall, and flying in formation. An alternative for this sport is called paragliding wherein a wingsuit is used to glide through the atmosphere.
Bicycle Motocross or BMX started in California. Around the 1960s, Motocross became popular in the United States and it served as an inspiration for BMX which was founded ten years later. The sport made its debut in the Olympic program during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Eight riders race on an obstacle track filled with high-sloping jumps and tight bends which leaves the audience on the edge of their seats. Filipino BMX rider Daniel Caluag became an icon after winning the gold medal in the Asian BMX Cycling Championships held last 2013 in Singapore. Caluag also competed in the 2012 London Olympics but was eliminated after the qualifying heats. He bounced back two years later and took home another gold medal in the Incheon Asian Games.
Snowboarding may be deemed as “surfing on snow.” Most of the techniques are adapted from skateboarding and surfing. One must balance his body while descending on a slope covered with snow, with the use of a snowboard attached to the rider’s feet. Snowboarding made its Olympic debut at the Nagano games in 1998. Freestyle, half pipe, and race are some of its events.
An extension of the Olympic high diving, cliff diving involves one tumbling through the heights and plunging into the water below. It is like jumping off a building and performing acrobatic spins within the process. Falling through the air on a fast pace is what gives the spur of excitement. Although it may seem fun, the G-force caused by gravity can be very dangerous. Jumping from as high as 65 feet can make an impact strong enough to damage the spinal column or give a concussion. Due to the high potential of injury, the World High Diving Federation requires the presence of professional rescue scuba divers when diving from 20 meters or higher.
Threat of injuries
These are just some of the common extreme sports known. Although the athletes are praised for the death-defying stunts they perform, their lives are placed in jeopardy. The risk of a having a lifelong disability or even death is on the line. Without proper care on handling equipment, a fatal injury may occur, with head and neck injuries posing the most threat for they may result in permanent brain damage and paralysis. But with the correct compliance to safety precautions, chances of injury are decreased.
Despite the large number of injuries and the given danger of these sports, athletes continue to engage in them. In fact, it’s popularity is vastly spreading. The creation of new technology, the eagerness of risk-takers, and the presence of various sports and activities all contribute to the continuous improvement of extreme sports. Time plays an important role to the evolution of technology. Almost every year, companies introduce new features in their paraphernalia, which opens new possibilities to the realm of sports. Similarly, people who constantly yearn for heart throbbing activities continue to explore new ways to test their limits. They are fueled by passion and creativity to satisfy their needs. Lastly, the existence of different sports also puts new games into perspective. An example is Underwater Hockey, which originated from England, and is also known as “Octopush.” With these factors, the development of extreme sports will surely continue to grow.
Nowadays, perhaps people are more inclined to dangerous activities—the racing of the heartbeat and the heightening of the senses. The thought of experiencing something new or being near death is what mainly differs the exhilarating experience of these sports from mainstream sports, and is also what keeps these extreme sports thriving in the present world.