Citing coronavirus concerns, X Games postpones February competition in China
The first X Games winter event to take place in China might be over before it even starts.
Organizers this week postponed X Games Chongli 2020 indefinitely, citing ongoing concerns over coronavirus. The virus is believed to have originated in the central city of Wuhan and is spreading across China, with the New York Times reporting that the death toll had climbed to 132 people as of Tuesday.
“The safety of our athletes, staff and spectators is our top priority,” organizers said in a statement, “and we will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
Action sports have been growing in popularity in China, especially those winter disciplines that will be part of the 2022 Winter Olympics, also taking place in China.
X Games was scheduled to take place Feb. 21-23 in the Secret Garden venue in the Chongli district of the city of Zhangjiakou, which will also serve as the host venue for ski and snowboard big air, halfpipe and slopestyle competitions at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
On Saturday, Chinese halfpipe skier Kexin Zhang finished fourth at X Games. Zhang is one of several up-and-coming halfpipe skiers from China whom former Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach Elana Chase is now coaching.
But China’s interest in action sports is not limited to winter; X Games also hosted a summer action sports event in Shanghai in June. By November, the brand had announced that the X Games would be heading back to China in February for a winter event.
Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris said he was excited that X Games was branching out into China.
“I cannot be happier to be showcasing our sport in such an incredible country,” McMorris said. “I hope that this will help inspire the citizens of China to try snowboarding.”
ESPN issued the announcement to postpone Monday.