ESPN's SportsNation crew had a lot of giggles yesterday over this rather insane failed bike jump. Unfortunately, no one on set knew that the man in the crash eventually killed himself because of his injuries.
The guy in the video is Colin Winkleman, a professional BMX rider who once set a Guinness World Record by jumping over 13 Ford Explorers on a bike. In 2004, fellow rider/daredevil Travis Pastrana apparently held a contest at his house to see who could film the craziest jump. Colin's attempt was to ride up a ramp attached to the front of a van that was moving toward him. He hit the ramp too fast and ended up falling nearly 20 feet on to the pavement.
Even at the time it probably seemed like a comically stupid failed stunt, but what no one would know—including Michelle Beadle and Marcellus Wiley or most of the YouTube viewers who have passed the clip around—is that the crash would destroy Winkleman's life. He reportedly broke and dislocated both his ankles, broke his wrist, one of his lower legs, and cracked a vertebra in his neck. After a year of rehabilitation, he was still unable to ride competively or even walk without a limp. The resulting depression over the loss of his craft apparently led Winkleman to commit suicide in August 2005.
Anyone who knew the story behind the video was probalby unnerved by the laughter, but to be fair, it's kind of hard to fact check a five year old web video. It's one of those unfortunate oversights that will probably be apologized for in short order. Right now, in fact, by an ESPN spokesperson:
"Given the larger context that we were clearly unaware of at the time, we should not have shown that video and we apologize. We will make every effort in the future to prevent something like this from happening again."