Wakeboarding is returning to the X Games for the first time in a decade following a renewed partnership between the ESPN extreme sport franchise and MasterCraft Boats. The MasterCraft Throwdown competition will take place at Millennium Park in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Saturday, August 8, 2015. The new wakeboarding event will be featured on the ABC series “World of X Games” at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Some of the biggest names on the water, including top-ranked pros, past X Games medalists, Pro Wakeboard Tour Champions, and World Champions, have been invited to complete at the event in a fight for the largest single event prize in the history of competitive wakeboarding and waterskiing. The event will also feature a Ski Flying World Record attempt and a live musical performance by country superstar Kip Moore. Wakeboarding Phenom and two-time X Games gold medalist, Parks Bonifay, will present the event.
The United States Sports Academy has a close connection with the X Games, since Dr. Linda Moore, 1989 Academy alumna, started her career with the X Games and ESPN in 1996. Dr. Moore also currently serves as the Academy Alumni Association Vice President and has been a member of the Academy Board of Trustees since 2009.
Dr. Moore not only currently works for ESPN’s X Games, she also played a very large part in the development of the extreme sport franchise.
“October 1, 1996, I had just finished the Olympics in Atlanta and made the move to San Diego, Calif., to join the team of independent contractors who were planning and executing the X Games.”
She started off as the Assistant Director of Sports and Competitions of the budding organization, in charge of athlete registration, credentials, hospitality, and staffing. She moved her way up the ladder in the years that followed.
“Over the years, I’ve held a number of positions with the X Games, but currently I hold the title of Senior Director of Business Operations and Planning,” she said. “My team handles the short-term and long-range planning, financials, staffing, legal, hospitality, transportation, catering, accommodations, risk management, accounting and invoice processing, and general troubleshooting for the event.”
While Dr. Moore and her team plan for the MasterCraft Throwdown competition, they are also busy planning for the next X Games. The hardest challenge they face, Dr. Moore says, is staying relevant even as the millennial audience ages.
“We are currently planning the next cycle of host city selection domestically and internationally,” she said. “We are reviewing our business model and looking at new opportunities to grow our brand and our events.”
The education that she received from the Academy, coupled with her experience as a whole, has prepared Dr. Moore for a successful career in the sport industry.
“I had an amazing experience at the Academy,” Dr. Moore. “I wanted a program that would teach me the business of sport, and that’s exactly what I got.”
She credits her success in the sport industry to the connections with other students and professors in the program with whom she is still connected more than 25 years later.
“The Academy laid the foundation for my career in the sports industry,” she said. “When I graduated, I felt as if I could move into any segment of the sports industry because I knew someone who could help me open that door.”
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, regionally accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy visit www.ussa.edu.