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Amped : How Big Air, Big Dollars, and a New Generation Took Sports to the Extreme
Meet the alternative American sports -skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX biking, and motocross - and the multimillion-dollar industry behind them.
Once a fringe underground culture, extreme sports are now the stuff of car commercials and Olympic competitions. How did they get there - and how does it feel to be in the middle of it all? The first comprehensive account of the rise, culture, and business of action sports, Amped plunges us into this exciting world. Readers will find themselves aboard a skateboarding bus tour with superstar Tony Hawk, behind the scenes at the X Games and snowboarding contests, on the sidelines witnessing the first-ever double backflip on a motorcycle, on the road with the Warped Tour, and in the offices of the multinational corporatison that have tapped into the vast amounts of money to be made from these nontraditional sports.
Based on interviews with more than one hundred athletes, managers, business executives, extreme-rock musicians, and, most importantly, the adolescent amateurs who are at the heart of this movement, Amped is not merely the story of an alternative world of sports now four decades old. It's the tale of a flourishing culture that continues to reject old-fashioned stick-and-ball sports in favor of individualistic forms of expression. The story of extreme sports speaks volumes about Generations X and Y and their divergent views on life, creativity, gratification, and identity.
These days, top-ranked skateboarders, snowboarders, BMX racers and motocross riders can make millions in product endorsements in addition to their competitive earnings. As the music critic for Entertainment Weekly, Browne has an easy point-of-entry into this subculture through its avid appreciation for punk rock and heavy metal, but his overview approaches the extreme sports scene from a variety of angles. Whether he's hanging out with the pros on the tour bus, checking in with participants at a skate camp or meeting with ESPN executives to discuss the launch of the X Games, the candor he elicits from his interview subjects is impressive. He effectively describes the tension felt by the athletes, who strive toward a punk rock ethos of integrity and credibility as they navigate the increasing commercialization of their sports, but as an author, he hangs back at the sidelines. Though Browne seems fascinated by athletes who shrug off even life-threatening accidents by maintaining "injuries help to keep you focused," his narrative lacks an internal edginess that would ensure its appeal to participants in these sports, and his emphasis on marketing could be an equal turnoff. Older, less hip readers, however, will be able to glean some insight into what their kids and grandkids are up to these days.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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July 13, 2005
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