Starting today, the popular X Games action sports competition is moving into Munich for the first time, taking place June 26-30 in the Olympiapark, which was built for the 1972 Summer Olympics. Some scratched their heads though at the choice of Germany when it was announced in May of last year. Action sports may be quite popular in the United States, but not so much in a country such as Germany, which has only produced a small handful of competitors.
However, some are seeing this as a great opportunity to bring attention to the alternative sports in Germany. Silvia Mittermüller, a Winter X Games Slopestyle snowboarder, commented to ESPN that “in Germany, we are behind the moon when it comes to supporting the sports young people are actually doing… I’m excited Munich is getting a new, modern event. It will be good to have X Games come and give Germans a taste of the future of sports.”
Just because action sports don’t see a lot of airtime on German TV, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t an active scene in the country. The closer you wander into the mountain-side towns, the more you’ll see younger Germans trading in their soccer balls for a BMX bike, skateboard, or snowboard. In fact, athletes from around the world regularly come to Germany to visit the vast amount of mountain resorts located the Alps.
Now with the X Games moving into Munich, German’s who may have never been exposed to these types of action sports will get the chance to see a whole new classification of sport. Bruno Hoffmann (seen in the photo above), a X Games silver medalist BMX Street competitor who grew up in Stuttgart, stated that when he “started riding BMX 10 years ago, the X Games were broadcast in Germany, but in the middle of the night and not on major channels… Action sports were underground.”
There is a lot of potential talent in Germany, but it will take a lot of exposure to these X Games-style sports before you see a move in popularity that places it closer to the much more popular sport of soccer. Action sports fans may find it difficult to name more than one or two competitors coming from Germany, but that may change after Munich plays host to the international summer games through 2015.