Leonardo golden at junior worlds
Local goes big in Austria
Not too bad for a kid who plays on the soccer team.
Battle Mountain’s Joey Leonardo went big and captured the gold at the Freeride World Tour Junior World Championships in Kappl, Austria, on Thursday.
Leonard put down a stylish run for 87.67 points to edge by Sweden’s Max Pam (85.67) and fellow American Louis Overington (84.00).
“When you have a World Champion starting in your midfield,” Battle Mountain soccer coach David Cope tweeted about Leo, as he is called on the pitch. “Congrats to Joey LEOnardo!”
Leonardo started his run with an airy reverse airplane, beginning his run with a nod to fluidity and confidence. The move showed size and style. He was quick on the traverse that took him to his next feature, which set the judges chattering.
He then pulled a slightly corked 360 and quickly disappeared behind some trees as the audience caught their breath. An approaching cornice didn’t stop his speed, and he took it large with a bit of a safety grab. Under the category of nit-picking, he had a little bobble on that, but it didn’t buck him. It was a small thing, but nothing compared to the serious wipeouts of his fellow competitors.
On the lower part of the course that had been tracked out by his fellow skiers, Leonardo found his own line, getting air two more times, including a spread eagle.
He cruised into the finish area and was immediately greeted with hugs by his fellow competitors who recognized the moment when they saw it.
When the competition ended, there were more hugs and the venue’s speaker played Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” That’s always a good way to pump up his soccer coach, who was watching stateside.
“What is really cool is the kid goes to a regular high school, plays soccer in the fall,” Cope said. “And he’s a world champion.”
Speaking of coaches, Joey is coached by his father, Jeff, who is also known as Leo.