Just two weeks after setting
the world record for motorsports distance jumping, Polaris snocross racer and
freestyle rider Levi LaVallee (Team LaVallee) sustained injuries in a practice
incident that will prevent him from competing in the 2012 Winter X Games and
will put his racing season on hold.
His Team LaVallee freestyle
teammate, Daniel Bodin of Sweden,
was injured in a separate practice incident and will also miss the Winter X
Games one year after winning two gold medals at the event.
"We were sad to receive word
of Levi's and Daniel's injuries, but we're relieved and excited to know both
are expected to make full recoveries," Mike Jonikas, Polaris VP Snowmobiles, Sales
& Marketing, said. "On behalf of everyone associated with Polaris, I pass
along our best wishes to Levi and Daniel, their families and their team."
A Team LaVallee spokesperson
reported LaVallee broke his left tibia in a practice accident while Bodin
"suffered fractured vertebra but did not sustain any spinal cord damage and has
full movement. Both athletes anticipate a full recovery."
"I'm super bummed about
Daniel and I getting hurt," said LaVallee. "I was riding on a high after my
record distance jump on New Year's Eve and was pumped for Winter X. And Daniel
was working hard to defend his gold medals from last year. I love our sport but
it can be cruel sometimes. We will both be back as soon as possible and want to
thank our sponsors for their support during this time."
One of the most popular
athletes in Winter X games history, LaVallee will miss his second straight X
Games. He sustained several serious injuries in December, 2010 while practicing
for an attempt at breaking the snowmobile distance jump record. He recovered
from those injuries and on Dec. 31, 2011, successfully completed the record
jump in San Diego.
In fact, his jump of 412
feet, 6 inches, on a Polaris IQ Race Sled is regarded as world record for all
motorsports categories, as it surpassed the record jump distances for ATVs,
cars and motorcycles. Robbie Maddison jumped on a motocross bike alongside
LaVallee at the event and sailed 378 feet, 9 inches.
LaVallee has won four gold
medals and seven total medals in eight X Games and in 2008, when he won two
golds, he was named "Athlete of Winter X." At the 2009 games, he attempted a
historic double back flip on a snowmobile in the Snowmobile Next Trick
competition. He completed the revolutions but couldn't stay on the sled when it
landed. It remains the only time any rider has attempted a double back flip in
competition. He won gold in Snowmobile Knock Out in 2009 and has also won gold
in Snowmobile Speed & Style (2008), Freestyle (2008) and Hillcross (2004).
The 2008-2009 Pro Stock
points champion on the ISOC snocross circuit, LaVallee was scheduled to compete
in freestyle and in best trick at the 2012 X Games.
Bodin, who is from Malung, Sweden,
won gold medals in Snowmobile Best Trick and Snowmobile Freestyle at the 2011
Winter X Games. He has competed in five Winter X Games and also won the silver
medal in Snowmobile Best Trick in 2010. In addition to his snowmobile freestyle
accomplishments, he is also a leading motorcycle freestyler.