Iconic BMX biker Dave Mirra was found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Every Friday in The Weekender we take a look at the best videos from the week that was—like a mini profile on pro surfer Courtney Conlogue —and give you a preview of some of the most important events in the world of action and outdoor sports coming up this weekend.
Iconic BMX Athlete Dave Mirra Suffered from CTE
It was a fairly prolific week for head trauma in sports. Bubba Smith became the 90th NFL player diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, a disease caused by multiple blows to the head resulting in concussions. Symptoms can include depression and a lack of impulse control. Which is why the disease has been loosely linked to the high-profile suicides of former NFL stars.
Then this: BMX icon Dave Mirra, who won 26 X Games medals in his career and help put the sport on the map, was found to have CTE, sources confirmed on Monday. Mirra took his own life in North Carolina in February, rocking the action sports world. He’s believed to be the first athlete from that realm to be diagnosed with the disease. “We would like to thank our family, friends and the overwhelming number of Dave’s fans who have supported us during this difficult time,” Mirra’s wife, Lauren, said in a statement. “We ask for your continued support in honoring Dave’s legacy and for your patience as we plan to create a platform for CTE awareness and research.”
World Surf League Buys Kelly’s Wave
The World Surf League this week announced it had bought a majority stake in the Kelly Slater Wave Company, owned by the 11-time world champion. Slater made waves, literally and figuratively, recently when he released footage of his artificial wave located at a former waterski park in Central California. This is a fairly prolific announcement: the wave is of such high quality that the everyman now has access to surf that was once only available after long airplane flights to places like Indonesia. While this artificial wave will never replace the joys of surfing in the ocean, it allows the sport to be more accessible, and perhaps paves the way for it to become an Olympic sport. “The WSL and the KSWC envision the build-out of a global network of WSL-branded high-performance training centers utilizing this wave technology,” said the WSL in a statement released this week. In short, the possibility of seeing a world champion in the future who grew up in St. Louis instead of San Diego is now a real possibility.
This was an interesting one. Skaters Tony Hawk and Aaron Homoki get a lift on the Zero Gravity plane and work on their inverted aerials with nothing holding them back. It’s actually much harder than they expected, as you can tell from the video. The Zero Gravity plane is available to the public so the working stiff can experience the weightlessness of space. That is if the working stiff has an extra $5 grand lying around. Because, apparently, that’s what weightlessness costs.
Courtney Conlogue is Stylish in the Water and on Land
This candid look at Courtney Conlogue’s training ritual was released this week. Conlogue currently sits second in the ratings just behind Australia’s Tyler Wright. She has been on the cusp of a world title the last three seasons and you can tell the Santa Ana, Calif.-native desperately wants to take that next step. You don’t get to see to many video parts with the talented California surfer and this one is solid because it shows how she carries her intense, charging style onto land when she hops on a skateboard, too.
Everest is Alive
A quick note from the Everest summit, which has made headlines the last few weeks. This is the first time in several years the mountain has been open to climbing. And while Everest has seen several big firsts this year, and even several deaths, this might be the most significant accomplishment of the season: Ketchum, Idaho’s Melissa Arnot became the first American woman to summit without oxygen. It was also her sixth time atop the mountain.
What’s On Tap
Red Bull Hare Scramble
Redbull.tv | Sunday, 5:30 p.m. ET
Austria is crazy for Enduro motorcycle racing and the Hare Scramble is part of the Ezbergrodeo, an Austrian moto tradition for 22 years.
Titans of Mavericks
FS1 | Monday 8 p.m. ET
The Titans of Mavericks contest will be replayed on Memorial Day, the contest won this winter by California’s Nic Lamb at the storied break near Half Moon Bay.
Fiji Women’s Pro
WorldSurfLeague.com| Saturday 3 p.m. ET
Saturday afternoon on the East Coast is early Sunday morning in Fiji, where WSL officials will make the call to start the Fiji Pro. The women will kick things off in one of the season’s most important contests.