SAINT PAUL, Minn., Jan. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- One hundred and fifteen thousand people descended upon the Cathedral of Saint Paul as Canadian brothers Kyle and Scott Croxall took the top two spots in an intense, action-packed final day at the Red Bull Crashed Ice - Ice Cross Downhill World Championship. Yet in many ways, the night belonged to hometown hero Cameron Naasz, who continued to cement his position as one of the elite Ice Cross Downhill athletes in the world with a third place finish.
The crowd chanted "USA! USA! USA!" as the Lakeview resident dominated the first three rounds, finishing first in each heat as the excitement around his performance grew. Naasz qualified for the finals in dramatic fashion, as he slid blades first across the finish line to edge out Canadian competitor John Fisher by a skate. The final run came down to the wire, with Naasz jumping out to the front of the pack and narrowly holding his lead through the first half of the course. But the Croxall brothers managed to surpass Naasz on the final quarter of the track, leaving him and the United States just short of a first-ever victory in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship.
"Tonight was unbelievable – I wish I had taken a few more strides on the final run," said Naasz. "But feeling the energy of the crowd was amazing, and now I'm more focused than ever on doing whatever I can to take the next step and win a race."
Two other Americans made deep runs into the quarterfinals. Veteran Tigh Isaac was one of them, putting in a strong performance and keeping himself in contention for the top spot all night. A collision during the quarterfinals squashed his hopes to reach the podium, but he's established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the circuit.
The comeback story of the night was Adam Green, who took Saint Paul by storm as he powered his way through the first two rounds and into the quarterfinals. The Ohio native was the fastest qualifier in Saint Paul last time around, but has been in and out of competition the past few years. With a dominant run on Saturday, he reminded fans of Ice Cross Downhill of his potential to be one of the top athletes in the sport.
"I was really proud of our guys overall," said Charlie Wasley, coach of Team USA. "Cam was even better than most people know – he was pretty banged up by the last race and still had a real shot to take it all. It was great to see him on the podium, but he has the potential to win races, if not the series. This night is going to elevate the confidence of our athletes, and I really feel we're closer than ever to a win."
Fans can relive all the edge-of-your-seat action on February 16 when the Saint Paul race airs as part of the Red Bull Signature Series. The Red Bull Signature Series is the most progressive and innovative action sports property in the world, featuring events such as snowboarding, mountain biking, freestyle motocross, ice cross downhill, skiing, and BMX. For more information, visit www.redbullsignatureseries.com.
About Red Bull Crashed Ice - Ice Cross Downhill World Championship
The world's fastest ice cross downhill athletes came back to Saint Paul to compete in the toughest competition on ice: Red Bull Crashed Ice. Athletes went four-at-a-time through a demanding, gritty, glacial downhill course full of turns, canals and chutes – all against the backdrop of the iconic Cathedral of Saint Paul. Back in the land of 10,000 lakes for the second time, this year's man-made ice track has been specifically designed for head-to-head battle, and was once again the most technically challenging course this season. The action returned to the U.S. on January 24-26, 2013 as the second stop on this year's World Championship tour.
With four athletes duking it out shoulder-to-shoulder down an intimidating and treacherous icicle in full ice cross downhill gear, the combatants raced up to 40 miles an hour down steep ice canals dotted with jumps, rollers, obstacles, banked corners and hairpin bends – until the first two crossed the finish line and advanced to the next round. This bracketed madness continued until the final chapter when the four remaining competitors raced to the bottom to crown the champ.
About Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship Series
Built into urban areas with tons of steel, huge cooling systems and thousands of square feet of frozen water, this one-of-a-kind series combines American football, ice hockey, downhill skating and boarder-cross where a gritty downhill chute on ice will be the stage in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators for the five-stop global championship, which along with Saint Paul, MN, includes spectacular courses in Canada, Switzerland, and Russia with the finale going back to Quebec, Canada.
Points are up for grabs at each of the five stops of the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship: the winner collects 1,000 points and competitors all the way down to 100th (0.5 point) can collect valuable points. Whoever finishes the season with the most points after the five races is crowned champion.
In 2012, there were four races around the globe – Sweden, The Netherlands, The United States and Quebec, Canada – many in sub-zero conditions. Athletes from 30 nations attempted to qualify and take the stage in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators who watched the four races.
There have been a total of 24 races since the first Red Bull Crashed Ice race in Stockholm, Sweden in 2001. In fact, two of these events happened in Duluth, MN in 2003 and 2004. It has grown into a World Championship phenomenon - a two-race series in 2010 (Munich and Quebec) where Germany's Martin Niefecker claimed the inaugural title. The series has expanded to five global stops across North America and Europe.
February 9, 2013 Landgraaf, NED
March 2, 2013 - Lausanne, SUI
March 16, 2013 - Quebec, CA
SOURCE Red Bull