Jacko Strong has come a long way in his short 21 years. Growing up in Australia and getting recognized for his accomplishments as a decorated athlete in Summer X Games have allowed him some life changing opportunities, especially this opportunity to compete in Aspen for the Winter X Games. Jacko is mentally and physically preparing himself for his big do-or-die moment on a Snow Mobile in Aspen tomorrow. He has been training for the last few weeks in Minnesota, where he is preparing for what could possibly be the most exciting moment of his life. Jacko started his career as a dirt biker, and his passion for the sport has evolved into exploring different aspects of the sport, which include a whole new territory for him… Snowmobiling. Jacko believes that challenging himself, and pushing himself to new limits is what makes a great competitor, and what his life is all about. Jacko is humble in his success, yet this is not the end of the road for him. He has much more to show the world, and he is pumped to do it. We talked to Jacko about his thoughts and plans for the upcoming X Games, where he gave us some insider information you can only see here.
Whatâ€™s it like transitioning from a Bike to a Sled?
Jacko: Well, riding a bike and riding a sled are two completely different things. With the dirt bikes they have wheels and gears, which makes it easy to navigate and control, itâ€™s also a million times lighter than a Snowmobile. On the Sled there are no gears, no wheels and itâ€™s all automatic, which took some getting used to. The Snow Sled weighs three times as much as a bike, and it lands on you. It hurts like a bitch.
Have you been working out and physically training for the X Games??
Jacko: Eh, not too much in Minnesota. Iâ€™ve been too busy working on my tricks for the games. But I have been working out a bunch at Icon Sports, so Iâ€™m in pretty good shape. I have big muscles.
Do you have a new respect for the sport of snowmobiling??
Jacko: It is a lot harder than it looks. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jimmy Blaze, John Guetter, Heath Frisby, Justin Hoyer and the rest of the athletes on the field. I honestly thought that it would be a lot easier when you crash; I thought it would be like a dirt bike, but so much more thought goes into the snowmobile. And I really have only spent a week practicing, itâ€™s not easy, tons of preparation and prepping!
What is the training compound and training like??
Jacko: Itâ€™s a wild ride out there. Iâ€™ve been practicing in Minnesota, its freezing here but the training area is awesome. When I first started I asked Jimmy Blaze and John Guetter who have rode four wheelers, and asked them for some advice. They pointed me in the right direction.
What can you tell us about the trick youâ€™re planning for the X Games??
Jacko: If I told you Iâ€™d have to kill you.
Can you tell us how you thought of the trick??
Jacko: Well, I was drinking one night and thought of this awesome idea. I have always wanted to test myself as an athlete, and show myself that I can do more than just ride a dirt bike. I also just really wanted to go to Aspen. Did a few mental practice runs in my mind, said it’s possible and went for it.
Whatâ€™s the trick called??
Jacko: I canâ€™t tell you that.
Fine. We are all getting impatient here! Tell us about what the training is like for this trick, on and off the foam pit.?
Jacko: It is very different than what I am used to. It hurts on a snowmobile in the foam pit, because that thing falls on top of you. Hurts like hell! I am definitely hurting from the practice. Iâ€™ve only done three jumps in the foam pit since I started. I am probably going to do three or four more jumps before Aspen.
What is it like hitting the foam pit and doing your top secret trick??
Jacko: I can do it on a dirt bike, but there are still a few more things to learn before the Winter X Games. Iâ€™ve been getting destroyed in the foam pit.
What is going through your head at that moment where itâ€™s do-or-die??
Jacko: It is always do rather than die.
Are you scared??
Jacko: Nope, no time to be scared. I never think that far ahead with my life to be scared.
Does the anxiety feel the same as it would for a regular dirt bike competition??
Jacko: Itâ€™s the same feeling, same rush. I just listen to music and relax. The real anxiety isnâ€™t exactly anxiety, itâ€™s just excitement that I made it to X Games and will hopefully bring home a medal.
What will a Winter X Games Medal mean to you??
Jacko: It would mean so much to me. It is something that Iâ€™ve had so little practice in, but at the end of the day, just to make it; to compete and make it home safe would make me happy, even if I donâ€™t get a medal.
Who would you like to thank??
Jacko: I am thankful for Jimmy Blaze, and John Guetter for helping me out with my career as a sled god. Of course my sponsors, Metal Mulisha, Rockstar Energy, DVS shoes, 38 Shield, Makita Tools, Kamatsu Motors, Pro Taper, Wagga Motors, Cango Sheds, Pro Circuit, and my Mom and Dad for conceiving me. I donâ€™t know where I would be without themâ€¦ well actually I wouldnâ€™t be here.