In a sport few Americans have heard of, one John Carroll student is making a huge impact. Senior Adam Green has quietly worked his way up the ranks in the ice cross downhill scene, also known as Red Bull’s Crashed Ice, becoming one of the top 50 in the world and one of the best in the U.S.
Invented by two Austrian athletes in 2000, ice cross downhill has taken off since Red Bull began sponsoring it in 2002. The sport has attracted a significant following in Canada and northern Europe, as races there can often draw 80,000 to 100,000 fans. Four skaters race down an icy hill at speeds up to 40 miles per hour, making for a wickedly exciting sport.
Green first saw the event on ESPN when he was 12 years old and was immediately hooked. He played hockey starting at age 9, but stopped after his senior year at Strongsville High School. So when he got an email invitation to participate in a Crashed Ice tryout at Perani’s Hockey World in Ann Arbor, Mich., during December of his freshman year at JCU, Green jumped at the chance. “It seemed like it could be a lot of fun. Growing up together, my hockey buddies and I were involved in some form of action sports like BMX, skateboarding, motocross and so on,” said Green. “Those extreme athletes were our idols, alongside the pro hockey players we watched in the NHL. Combining the hockey culture and this new downhill sport, it was only natural that I wanted nothing more than to try it at least once.”
Since that day in December of 2009, Green hasn’t looked back. He placed first in the audition and has since competed in Munich, Quebec City, the Netherlands and St. Paul, Minn., among other locales. Through intense training, practice and competition, Green has become one of the best at his craft. Recently at the World Championships in St. Paul, Minn., Green reached the quarterfinals, finishing as one of the top 16 ice cross downhill skaters in the world.
Green’s 13 years of hockey experience have played a large role in his ascendance to the top of the sport. Many Crashed Ice competitors have extensive involvement in hockey and extreme sports, so Green’s time playing hockey, as well as roller hockey for the U.S. National Team, has helped him a great deal. “Hockey is a huge help in my preparation to compete,” Green said. “It is my main aspect of training to focus on, as the skills needed for hockey are a major aspect of skills needed for ice cross downhill.”
But Green’s skating ability has not given him a free pass to the top. He has had to train passionately to get where he is now. He will have to continue his hard work if he is to keep moving up, as ice cross downhill is not a forgiving sport. At the same time, Green has to balance his preparation with his schoolwork. “It is definitely a difficult schedule to balance, but I manage to partition my time in both areas,” said Green, who has a 3.01 GPA. “Training time is when I need to push my body, and study time is when I need to exercise my brain.”
The 22-year-old has recently seen some local and national attention for his efforts. He was interviewed on Saturday morning on WKYC-TV by Marcus Walter. Green talked about the equipment he uses (mostly hockey pads and Under Armor), the speed of the sport and his workout regimen, among other topics. Green appeared again on Saturday afternoon on NBC’s broadcast of Crashed Ice. The major network covered the World Championships held in St. Paul from Jan. 24-26 and showed the finished product on Saturday. Green, who watched the show with his family, was pleased with the job NBC did. “I was happy with the program NBC put together,” he said. “They work extremely hard to make it unique and bring the energy and hype to the fans at home.” The broadcast accurately depicted the sport and painted it just as it should be: an exciting, up-and-coming sport. “I think it was a good representation of the event and culture of Crashed Ice. But with any sport, television cannot accurately express the speed or immense size this event is known for,” said Green. “The true experience is felt by the fortunate few who get to spectate Crashed Ice in person.”
The potential for growth of the sport in the United States is significant. Crashed Ice is a thrilling event that immediately captures the attention of all who watch it. Green believes that one day the sport may be popular throughout the U.S. “Last year in St. Paul, we had 80,000 spectators at the event. This year, we had 115,000 people show up to watch us careen down the massive hill in front of the cathedral,” said Green. “As more people become aware of the sport, we will get better riders and more fans to cheer us on.”
The future for the sport and Adam Green is bright, but certainly up in the air. Crashed Ice has yet to catch on across America, though it has the potential to. Green hopes to go pro in ice cross downhill, but graduation is also approaching, and he will soon have to consider job possibilities. In the meantime, he will continue preparation for his upcoming race in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 2.
For updates on Green, stay tuned to The Carroll News and BlueStreakNation.webs.com.