X Games Europe athletes announced


Tonight ESPN, CANAL + Events and Tignes Ski & Snowboard Resort announced the first wave of athletes invited to the Winter X Games Europe March 10-12, 2010. The event will be the first
Winter X Games held outside the United States.

On hand for the announcement were six invited Winter X Games athletes including:
Mikkel Bang - 2009 Winter X Games Snowboard Big Air &Slopestyle bronze medal winner
Sarah Burke - 2009 Winter X Games Ski SuperPipe gold medal winner
Xavier Bertoni - 2009 Winter X Games Ski SuperPipe gold medal winner
Mathieu Crepel - 2008 Winter X Games Snowboard Slopestyle 9th Place
Kevin Rolland - 2009 Winter X Games Ski SuperPipe 8th Place
Jacob Wester - 2009 Winter X Games Ski Big Air bronze medal winner

"The Winter X Games is one of the biggest events of the season for us," said Sarah Burke, five-time Winter X Games medal winner. "I am looking forward to competing in Tignes in March."

The event will bring together ESPN's world class X Games franchise with France's leading pay TV broadcaster in Canal +, the local expertise of Tignes and expert course design led by Chris Gunnarson and Snow Park Technologies.

"Canal + is thrilled and proud to work with ESPN to bring Europe this unique event: the Winter X Games. The Canal+ group will put all of their efforts to give this event the maximum exposure in France and French-speaking countries that it deserves," said Jean-Louis Dutaret, president of CANAL+ EVENTS.

"We couldn't ask for more in a first-ever Winter X Games to be held outside the U.S: First-class athletes and courses, a terrific mountain resort in Tignes and a perfect co-host and broadcaster in Canal +," said Rick Alessandri, ESPN senior vice president and managing director, X Games Franchise.

"Tignes has been chosen to host the Winter X Games Europe, which is the pinnacle for us. Tignes has worked all summer with Snow Park Technology to provide amazing pipe and Slopestyle courses as good as Aspen," said Sebastien Merignargues, Tignes resort manager.

There will be eight different competitions over three days, including Ski and Snowboard SuperPipe and Slopestyle for men and women as well as a Snowmobile demonstration.

The first wave of athletes invited to France to compete for medals and prize money include:

Gretchen Bleiler - Three-time Winter X Games Snowboard SuperPipe gold medal winner and 2006 Winter Olympic silver medal winner
Simon Dumont - Two-time Winter X Games Skiing SuperPipe gold medal winner
Kevin Pearce - Two-time Winter X Games silver medal winner
Torah Bright - Two-time Winter X Games Snowboard SuperPipe gold medal winner and 2006 Winter Olympian
Levi LaVallee- Three-time Winter X Games Snowmobile gold medal winner

*PLEASE NOTE: The invited athlete list is constantly being updated and is subject to change.

CANAL + Networks (CANAL +, CANAL + SPORT, Sport +) will show the Winter X Games in France and French-speaking territories (Caribbean, French speaking Africa) live (or on-delay) so that those unable to come to Tignes will be able to see the event. ESPN will be responsible for all distribution outside of France.

ESPN first developed its X Games franchise in 1995. The X Games, Winter X Games and All Access are just some of the original action sports programming currently shown on ESPN and ESPN2. In addition to the two U.S.-based events, ESPN has held X Games competitions and demonstration events around the world, including Dubai, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Malaysia, China and Spain. The global franchise has also expanded its reach to both XGames.com and ESPN.com/action, the definitive sites for action sports fans, and to consumer products such as X Games bikes, protective gear, skateboards and DVDs.

CANAL + Events
CANAL + Events is a CANAL + Group subsidiary in charge of events producing and TV rights dealing. CANAL + Group is the first French Media Group with more than four billion turnover. High quality content that can be aired on TV, Internet and Mobile and then sold on DVD is the key word for CANAL + Group. CANAL + Events mission is to create or to co-produce content that can serve that strategy.

Located in the Northern French Alps, in Savoie, from 1,550 to 3,500 meters high, Tignes is linked to Val d'Isère and is a part of the espace killy, one of the biggest ski areas in the world. With athletic and young clients of whom 54% are foreigners, Tignes is known as the most cosmopolitan and sportiest resort in Europe. Always at the forefront of alternative and action sports and on the look out for new freestyle trends, the resort has a wide experience in event organization. Tignes is a big, white playground where riders enjoy expressing themselves.