Since he was 8 years old, Brandon Graham has dreamed of being on-air with ESPN. The San Jose, Calif. native got his big break at 21 after securing an opportunity at ESPN LA Radio. He snagged the chance to cover the X Games through podcasts and interviews. Graham eventually became host of a weekly action sports show for the station.
A longtime surfer and skater, Graham’s first exposure to X Games was when he attended the 1999 San Francisco event. Next week at X Games Aspen 2014, Graham, 28, will be sharing co-hosting duties with X Games medalist, Olympian and friend, snowboarder Louie Vito.
“I’ve known Louie for five years, as I used to interview him on my radio show,” Graham said. “I look forward to fans getting a chance to see Louie is just as good behind the mic as he is in the pipe.”[/box]
ASPEN, Colo. — Louie Vito’s name has become synonymous with snowboarding. He’s a two-time X Games medalist and Olympian, and he’s only 25.
He vividly remembers Winter X 2006, his first time in the event. He was staring down at the SuperPipe, still amazed at how he went from watching the X Games on TV back home in Bellefontaine, Ohio to actually competing in an event. Next week, Vito will find himself in a familiar role along with a new one: He’ll be an X Games Aspen competitor while serving as a co-host of ESPN’s television coverage of the event with Brandon Graham. ESPN’s X Games coverage kicks off next Thursday at 9 p.m. ET and is available across multiple ESPN platforms.
But juggling multiple priorities won’t be a problem for Vito. A consistent podium threat with a progressive riding style, Vito’s talents extend outside his sport — he’s been a model for ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue” and he’s a veteran of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
Vito’s natural feel behind the the microphone can be attributed to having grown up around the broadcast industry his entire life – his father owns several radio stations.
“I am stoked to be joining the ESPN X Games family,” Vito said. “I have been a huge fan and supporter of X Games since I was a kid and hope to bring some insight from a current rider to the people watching at home.”
Vito will be competing next Thursday night in the Snowboard SuperPipe Men’s Elimination. He hopes to be vying for gold Sunday, Jan. 26 during the Snowboard SuperPipe Men’s Final.
In anticipation of his co-hosting role, Vito looks forward to hearing positive feedback from others, including his friend and co-host Graham.
“After all, feedback is the breakfast of champions,” Vito said.
On top of everything, Vito, who placed fifth at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, will be vying for a berth at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next month.
“I didn’t change my lifestyle just for the Olympics, I did it to be a better snowboarder which hopefully will allow me to ride longer,” said Vito, who has spent the last three years with trainer John Schaeffer, modifying his physique, diet and focus. “Because at the end of the day, I like competing and would like to do it for as long as possible and John has helped me to have zero regrets.”