Parrot wins X gold in 1st comp since chemo

Max Parrot poses for a picture at X Games Aspen in January of 2017 with Kaitlyn Felten, 9, of Denver, at the Buttermilk venue. Parrot was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2018.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

X Games Norway debuted the first indoor-outdoor, water-ramp to an on-snow big air jump over the weekend, and snowboarder Max Parrot returned to competition as strong as ever after a battle with cancer.

Parrot found out he had Hodgkin lymphoma in December 2018. He had cancer cells in his upper body, near his heart and lungs, but it had not reached his organs. He began an aggressive treatment plan immediately and in July he was declared cancer free.

Parrot then set his sights on returning to competition for X Games Norway’s new summer big air event, where snowboarders and skiers drop in on a water ramp outside the roof above Telenor Arena near Oslo before entering the venue through a hole in the roof, transitioning to real snow on an indoor kicker and landing in front of an estimated 6,000 fans.

It proved to be the perfect high-adrenaline atmosphere Parrot needed to muster the energy required to return from an experience as draining as chemotherapy. Parrot’s last treatment was about two months before Saturday’s big air event outside Oslo.

“To a lot of people, it seems like a big goal only two months after the end of the treatments,” Parrot told in July, “because with a lot of patients, it can get up to two years to get back all your energy. I’m planning to get it all back within two months … but I’ve always been like that. I love having a big goal and doing anything to achieve it.”

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‘Living a nightmare’

Parrot was the only snowboarder to land every run on Saturday and landed a 1620-degree rotation as well as a frontside triple cork 1440.

“Honestly, I’ve been living a nightmare for the past months,” he said after the competition. “All I was dreaming about was to be here today. It was pretty hard for me, I only had two months to get back in shape for this, which was almost impossible.”

Parrot said with a goal of simply competing, winning the event was a dream come true.

“Winning a gold, of course, was something I dreamed of, but yeah, I’m just so happy,” he said.

Sweden’s Sven Thorgren finished in second and Yuki Kadono of Japan won bronze.

Hall wins ski competition

In the women’s competition, Anna Gasser of Switzerland was a favorite to win and did not disappoint, landing double underflips both regular and switch. Japan’s Kokomo Murase finished in second and American Julia Marino took home bronze.

On the ski side, Vail pondskimmer Alex Hall won gold while Henrik Harlaut, who had knee surgery in August, looked comfortable on the big air jump, earning a silver medal. With his 11th medal, Harlaut tied Tanner Hall for the most medaled ski athlete in X Games history. Aspen 2019 Big Air silver medalist Alex-Bealieu Marchand earned bronze.

The Women’s Ski Big Air competition saw France’s Tess Ledeux winning her first X Games gold medal and enjoying the innovative venue.

“The setup was very good,” Ledeux said.

Swiss skiers Giulia Tanno and Mathilde Gremaud turned in strong performances to complete the Women’s Ski Big Air podium.  

This story contains material from an X Games news release.

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