Acute Pneumonia Dashes Athlete’s Quest for Gold at Winter X Games

January 27, 2006 5:56am

January 26, 2006 (NEWPORT BEACH, CA) –  Ailo Gaup understands why it takes a lot to keep an athlete out of Winter X Games. It’s one of the biggest events of the year, and those who are talented enough to get the nod from the invitation committee will move mountains to make sure they’re in their starting position on time.  The prize money is great, but it’s the title of “Winter X Games Medalist” that motivates the athletes.
This was going to be Norway’s FMX phenom, Ailo Gaup’s first attempt at the coveted medal.  Coming off of a great 2005 with recent accomplishments including the Bronze medal at the Air & Style in Munich in December, Ailo was ready to rock the house with his signature “Underflip over the ice gap”, a trick that he put into competition on dirt more than a year ago, and only he has ever successfully landed.
Unfortunately, Ailo has been diagnosed with Acute Double Pneumonia and his doctor has given him strict orders to pull out of the competition and remain in bed under careful supervision while on heavy rounds of antibiotics.
Being a true athlete, Ailo was determined to still compete despite the intense pain, but acquiesced when faced with the news that should he disobey his doctors orders most likely his condition would become seriously aggravated by the altitude and extreme cold weather Aspen is famous for, possibly to the point of death.
Ironically, Ailo’s determination to win was his undoing. To prepare for the challenge Ailo went so far as to build an ice ramp at a resort near his Norwegian home. Spending weeks and weeks practicing in the freezing temperatures, despite the fact that he already had the flu has led to his worst nightmare. Ailo’s dreams of finding gold in the hills of Aspen are dead.
“I can’t express how disappointed I am. It’s one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me.”, said Ailo.  “Usually we just keep going through the pain, and we know there are always risks doing what we do, but I guess competing when you know for sure it’s going to collapse a lung, or worse, would be stupid.”, said Ailo.
So for now, his manager Rich Swisher of the Sports Syndicate, will have to settle for the top two podium positions courtesy of his other top FMXers, “Cowboy” Kenny Bartram and Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, instead of the three way sweep he was hoping for.