SAINT PAUL, Minn., Feb. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 120,000 super-fans in Minnesota came out to the Cathedral of Saint Paul to witness Marco Dallago (AUT) take out Scott Croxall (CAN), Cameron Naasz (USA) and Andrew Bergeson (USA) in the second stop of Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship 2014. The largest crowd in the history of Ice Cross Downhill poured out to cheer on the American athletes despite freezing temperatures, and the support worked. This year's annual stop represented one of the strongest showings ever for the American athlete contingent, which grows more and more elite at each stop of the World Championship tour.
"The sport is excelling here. It's growing really quickly, and you can see our talent level is rising really fast," said Cameron Naasz, the top ranked U.S. athlete, who finished on third on the podium for the second year in a row. "The whole goal for us is to get more and more Americans involved and grow the sport in the U.S., and we showed tonight we are definitely doing that."
The Americans set the tone immediately, with U.S. athlete Adam Gerlach making a statement by winning the first heat of the night. Just a few heats later, an American shocked everyone as Christopher Clancy, a true rookie in his first race, knocked out Derrick Wedge, defending world champion. By the time the round of 64 was in the books, six Americans were moving on and the tone for the evening was set.
Few were surprised that Naasz, who reached the podium in 2013 in Saint Paul, was in contention once again as the night progressed. He cruised through the early rounds and was never in danger of being eliminated. However, rising American star Andrew Bergeson quickly made himself the story of the night as he moved on, round after round, exceeding all expectations. Bergeson, who had never before reached a final round, skated past competitor after competitor until there was only once race to go.
The final run featured true star power – four of the sports bests; Bergeson, Naasz, M. Dallago and S. Croxall. The run was intense, with leads changing regularly and all four skaters riding toe to toe. Naasz jumped out to an early lead, battling it out with Dallago for the lead as the race headed down the stretch. When Dallago fell, the home crowd cheered in anticipation of Naasz winning the event. However, Dallago is ranked #1 in the world for a reason – and he was able to recover and win the race. Scotty Croxall finished second, with Cam Naasz reaching the podium at third and Andrew Bergeson finishing fourth.
"I don't know if the count is right, I just heard it before the final, but there is 120,000 spectators," says Dallago. "With this big event atmosphere, it's just perfect, and I am so happy that I can win two races in a row."
Red Bull Crashed Ice Saint Paul is in partnership with Swatch and Polaris. Red Bull Crashed Ice –Saint Paul will air on Fox Sports 1 Monday, February 24 at 8:30pm CST. All four of the World Championship races will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 as part of a stunning Red Bull global sports series that also includes the Cliff Diving World Series, X-Fighters, and the Air Race World Championship. Year-long broadcasts take place at some of the most iconic and breath-taking sporting venues in the world. For more information and final results, please visit www.redbullcrashedice.com.
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Polaris Industries has helped support the 2014 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship in Saint Paul by supplying 25 Ranger XPs. Each Polaris Ranger is integral to the month long build of Crashed Ice and the transportation of staff and athletes during the event on February 20-22. For more information on Polaris and their line of Hardest Working, Smoothest Riding vehicles, visit www.Polaris.com.
Launched in 1983 by Nicolas G. Hayek, Swatch is a leading Swiss watchmaker and one of the world's most popular brands. The first Swatch watches surprised everyone with their revolutionary concept, creative design and provocative spirit. Today Swatch continues to innovate and surprise with new models, collections and special editions. The brand maintains a strong presence in the world of sports with its commitment to snowboarding, free skiing, surfing, FMX and ice cross downhill. Right from the start, Swatch connected with art and artists, and Swatch watches remain a prominent canvas for artists from a broad range of disciplines.
The Red Bull Crashed Ice broadcast will be available on demand on February 24 at 10pm CST on Red Bull TV, which is available for free on the web at www.redbull.tv, through its iOS and Android applications, as well as Apple TV, Chromecast and select Smart TVs.
SOURCE Red Bull