Appropriate use of ‘gnarly’ |

Appropriate use of ‘gnarly’

Shauna Farnell
Vail Daily

Gnarly. It might very well be the most frequently used word at the Winter X Games.

Some situations, however, call for it more than others, and there are certain people who have truly earned the right to use it. Motocross competitor Mike Metzger, we could say, gets dibs.

He knows how to use the word correctly as a superlative. And Metzger, from Menifee, Calif., who took gold in the X Games 2003 best trick contest and then silver in 2004, was competing in a big air contest in Switzerland last year. On his first jump, he over-rotated on his back flip and hammered his, umm, groin directly into the foot peg.

The accident resulted in the removal of one of his testicles and seven months of recovery.

“It probably was the gnarliest pain I’ve ever experienced,” he said before launching into the motocross best trick competition at the Winter X Games in Aspen Sunday. “It’s an intense moment, sitting there on all fours thinking I lost everything down there. I feel really fortunate that I can be back and ride after something like that.”

After making a return last year, Metzger summarily shattered his foot and was out for another five months. No matter, though. This is guy who’s broken 20 different bones, including his back, and lives to outdo himself.

“I’m an athlete,” he said. “I know how to come back. Every person in every action sport I’m sure has gone to the doctor a few times.”

Shauna Farnell can be reached at

Aspen, Colorado

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