X Games 17 is just around the corner. Invited athletes have been announced, street courses have been revealed, and a whopping sixteen events will take place over the course of four days in Downtown LA. Out of all of these events, there is only one women's event with a total of eight participating athletes.
There are no women's BMX events, there are no women's Rally events. Women's park and vert skating were completely removed from the program, denying female athletes the opportunity to compete amongst their peers in one of the biggest contests in their sport. What will happen next year? Will women have any events at all? Why are we being pushed aside in spite of the growing numbers of women in action sports?
We need to tell X Games and ESPN that this absolutely unacceptable. Women deserve to compete in all events offered by X Games that men compete in.
X Games is all too willing to expand their brand to different locations across the globe, but this just gives them more opportunities to deny women athletes the chance to compete.
ETA: It has been brought to my attention that there will be women's street skating, and women's enduro. This doesnt' distract from the petition's purpose, though.
The numbers of women participating and becoming interested in action sports is growing every day and I feel that the removal and overall exclusion of them is not only a slight to the dedicated and talented women who dedicate their lives to these sports, but also a step backwards from where action sports needs to be.
More young girls are turning to women like Cara Beth Burnside and Gretchen Bleiler and Ashley Fiolek as role models. Because of these amazing women who give everything to be the best in their sport, more young girls are becoming active in the extreme sports industry. Why are you, as the leader in sports broadcasting, limiting these young girls? Not only are you taking away the very few opportunities for women athletes to shine on television, you're effectively telling young girls that they do not matter in the world of action sports. Not only is that so far from the truth, it is absolutely unacceptable.
I write to you today because I do not believe in standing by and staying quiet. Action sports is growing because of the X Games and ESPN and it's time to end the era of these sports being Boy's Clubs. It's time for action sports to become a more inclusive environment. Girls and women train all year to be the absolute best, and all they are given is the scraps of air-time men don't want. And they are expected to be grateful for that, to smile for being an afterthought.
It's outlets like the X Games that need to be leading the charge in bringing women into the spotlight in these sports. The fact that not only do you not include certain events, but you pull them altogether? That speaks volumes.
I plan on protesting X Games 17 because I feel that is the only way that you will listen to the voices of women who not only go out every day, boards and bikes in hand, but to the spectators who are begging you for more coverage, that are only met with silence. This is your chance, X Games and ESPN. This is your chance to change the way women are treated in the action sports world. You have the power and influence to lead by example and it's only a matter of time before we're all on the same page, before others will follow.