Just two weeks after setting the world record for motorsports distance jumping, Polaris snocross racer and freestyle rider Levi LaVallee (Team LaVallee) sustained injuries in a practice incident that will prevent him from competing in the 2012 Winter X Games and will put his racing season on hold.
His Team LaVallee freestyle teammate, Daniel Bodin of Sweden, was injured in a separate practice incident and will also miss the Winter X Games one year after winning two gold medals at the event.
“We were sad to receive word of Levi’s and Daniel’s injuries, but we’re relieved and excited to know both are expected to make full recoveries,” said Mike Jonikas, Polaris VP Snowmobiles, Sales & Marketing. “On behalf of everyone associated with Polaris, I pass along our best wishes to Levi and Daniel, their families and their team.”
A Team LaVallee spokesperson reported LaVallee broke his left tibia in a practice accident while Bodin “suffered fractured vertebra but did not sustain any spinal cord damage and has full movement. Both athletes anticipate a full recovery.”
“I’m super bummed about Daniel and I getting hurt,” said LaVallee. “I was riding on a high after my record distance jump on New Year’s Eve and was pumped for Winter X. And Daniel was working hard to defend his gold medals from last year. I love our sport but it can be cruel sometimes. We will both be back as soon as possible and want to thank our sponsors for their support during this time.”
One of the most popular athletes in Winter X games history, LaVallee will miss his second straight X Games. He sustained several serious injuries in December 2010 while practicing for an attempt at breaking the snowmobile distance jump record. He recovered from those injuries and on Dec. 31, 2011, successfully completed the record jump in San Diego.
In fact, his jump of 412 feet, 6 inches, on a Polaris IQ Race Sled is regarded as world record for all motorsports categories, as it surpassed the record jump distances for ATVs, cars and motorcycles. Robbie Maddison jumped on a motocross bike alongside LaVallee at the event and sailed 378′, 9″.
LaVallee has won four gold medals and seven total medals in eight X Games, and in 2008, when he won two golds, he was named “Athlete of Winter X.” At the 2009 games, he attempted a historic double back flip on a snowmobile in the Snowmobile Next Trick competition.
He completed the revolutions but couldn’t stay on the sled when it landed. It remains the only time any rider has attempted a double back flip in competition. He won gold in Snowmobile Knock Out in 2009, and has also won gold in Snowmobile Speed & Style (2008), Freestyle (2008) and Hillcross (2004).
The 2008-2009 Pro Stock points champion on the ISOC snocross circuit, LaVallee was scheduled to compete in freestyle and in best trick at the 2012 X Games.
Bodin, who is from Malung, Sweden, won gold medals in Snowmobile Best Trick and Snowmobile Freestyle at the 2011 Winter X Games. He has competed in five Winter X Games and also won the silver medal in Snowmobile Best Trick in 2010. In addition to his snowmobile freestyle accomplishments, he is also a leading motorcycle freestyler.