Action sports, adventure sports or extreme sports are activities perceived as involving a high degree of risk. These activities often involve speed, height, a high level of physical exertion and highly specialized gear.
The primary extreme sports—skateboarding, in-line roller-skating, and BMX, for example—often make use of half-pipes (U-shaped structures) and urban landscapes for performing a wide range of tricks. The sports also share a unique subculture that separates them from traditional team sports. It is a youth-oriented culture that has embraced punk music and fashion and emphasizes individual creativity.
The term extreme sports is generally attributed to the X Games, a made-for-television sports festival created by the cable network ESPN in 1995. The success of the X Games raised the profile and economic viability of these sports. The extreme sports of mountain biking and snowboarding debuted at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in 1996 and 1998, respectively.
Skateboarding, form of recreation and sport, popular among youths, in which a person rides standing balanced on a small board mounted on wheels. Considered one of the so-called extreme sports, skateboarding as a professional sport boasts a range of competitions, including vertical and street-style events. Vertical skating (also called “vert”) features aerial acrobatics performed in half-pipes that were originally built to emulate empty swimming pools. Street style features tricks performed in a real or simulated urban environment with stairs, rails, ledges, and other obstacles. Skateboarding has developed as a youth subculture that emphasizes creativity and individuality. It is an alternative to mainstream team sports, which are more formally organized and largely controlled by adults.