A Comeback For The Ages
It is one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of action sports. In July of 2009, Cameron Sinclair's life hung in the balance after an attempt of his signature double backflip went badly wrong during a Red Bull X-Fighters competition in Madrid, Spain. He under-rotated the flip, landing awkwardly and catastrophically on his face. Sinclair spent seven days in a coma and three weeks in a Spanish hospital before being released to a rehab facility in his native Australia, where he had to learn the most basic human functions -- such as how to walk -- all over again. No one seriously considered that Sinclair would return to riding a bike, let alone return to elite-level competition.
But just over one year later, there was Sinclair, lined up to compete in the Best Trick contest at X Games 16. While much of the crowd anticipated freestyle's new "Holy Grail" -- the front flip -- Sinclair quietly and confidently rolled down the start ramp and executed a perfect double backflip. The crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles erupted. That one trick bested Robbie Maddison's varial and held through the second round of competition. But, is it possible that the comeback is not yet complete? The champion later admitted he had an even more impressive trick "in reserve, just in case the double backflip wasn't enough."
Nate Adams' second straight overall win in the 2010 Red Bull X-Fighters series was made all the more astonishing by the fact that he failed to win any of the actual events. It wasn't for lack of trying; Adams suffered two bothersome defeats this year. The first came at the hands of Adam Jones, who capitalized in Egypt on Adams's confusion over a rule change. The second was dealt out by Levi Sherwood in Moscow -- retribution for his loss to Adams last year in London. Adams is often criticized for being too calculated and robot-like in his approach to freestyle, but there's a reason his competitors call him "The Destroyer." He has an uncanny ability to identify a rider's weaknesses and take him down, piece by piece, over the course of an event. You can lay bets that the Destroyer won't go through the 2011 series without a win.