Before Generation X (although technically I guess I’m part of Generation X), before the iGeneration, before the X Games, before any of that was the original daredevil, Evel Knievel.
I don’t know anything about Travis Pastrana but for old fuddy duddys like me I appreciate the fact Pastrana paid tribute to the man who paved the way for people like him. Pastrana, an 11-time X Games champion, in a tribute to Knievel outdid him.
Pastrana even wore the red, white and blue outfit that was Knievel’s signature wardrobe. Even Pastrana’s motorcycle was similar to the one Knievel used, which makes me respect Knievel even more.
Because when Knievel attempted what Pastrana was able to execute, Knievel ended up in a spectacular crash that was captured in slow motion — over and over again.
Pastrana completed three jumps on Sunday night that Knievel did with the grand finale being when he jumped over the iconic Caesars Palace fountain in Las Vegas on Sunday night.
Pastrana even jumped into the fountain to celebrate. That’s something Knievel couldn’t do. Instead he ended up in the hospital with multiple broken bones after the aforementioned spectacular crash.
Pastrana, though, still will never have the following that Knievel once had. Knievel was truly one-of-a-kind who came along at the right time during the late 1960s and 1970s when a younger generation than him — which included myself — were looking for anti-heroes.
I’m sure, though, Pastrana was a lot more meticulous in his preparation for Sunday’s jump than Knievel was. Another spectacular Knievel crash happened in London when Knievel tried to jump over 13 buses.
I remember Frank Gifford, who covered the jump, telling a story about Knievel going to the top of the jump ramp to look over the buses the day before his jump and telling Gifford, “I can’t do this.”
But true to his word, Knievel jumped as promised — and ended up in another spectacular crash in which is motorcycle went over the top of him.
So I have to thank Pastrana for bringing back fond childhood memories and remaining in one piece while doing it.
— Charles Whisnand