MOSUL, Iraq - They're not the standard professional athlete many would expect to come to Iraq. But Soldiers with an interest in extreme sports know them well and appreciated the visit.

Five ESPN XGames athletes from various extreme sports visited the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team "Greywolf", 1st Cavalry Division at Forward Operating Base Marez on July 19.

The XGames stars conducted a meet-and-greet during the evening at the main gym on FOB Marez and signed autographs. Afterwards, many of the Soldiers stayed at the gym and conversed with the athletes.

"I came out to see the athletes because I use to skate when I was younger and I'm a big fan of it" Sgt. Stephen Fogelberg, with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, "I noticed that one of the people was a skater so I came out."

All five XGames athletes are accomplished stars in their own sport. Jen O'Brien was the first female skater to ever participate in the XGames.

"I just think it's important to come out and support the troops and let them know we appreciate what they're doing out here," said Jen O'Brien. "They're away from their family and friends and they're working hard to make sure we're safe at home."

Nate Holland has competed in multiple XGames snowboarding events and was even a member of the 2006 U.S. Olympic team.

Snowboarder Grete Eliassen has won back to back gold medals in the 2005 and 2006 XGames. She has also won three straight U.S. Open Skiing Slopestyle competitions.

Skier Sarah Burke won the gold medal in the 2009 XGames superpipe event and numerous gold medals prior to that. She is the first and only female to ever land a 1,080 degree spin during competition.

BMX freestyle rider Brad Simms has recently had a signature frame with Hoffman bikes come out with his nick name B-Rad on the side.

During this tour the athletes have stopped at numerous posts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16