X Games in full swing
Vail, CO Colorado
With Sarah Burke stickers adorned to her helmet, Canadian teammate and close friend, Roz Groenewoud, captured gold in women’s ski superpipe with a 93.66 – the highest score in the events’ history – at the Winter X Games Saturday in Aspen.
“It means so much,” an emotional Groenewoud said. “After the tribute on Thursday, I am so proud to be a skier. The outpouring of support has been amazing. I felt like I had Sarah with me. She has been a teammate for so long. This is for Sarah.”
After winning the bronze medal the last two years, the gold is Groenewoud’s first in five Winter X Games appearances.
Maddie Bowman, who made her first Winter X Games appearance last year managed three scores in the 90s, her highest a 92.00, won the silver.
“Honestly this is kind of shocking, it is just now sinking in,” an excited Bowman said. “It’s great and I am honored to be able to go out and ski like Sarah would have wanted.”
Last year’s silver medalist Brita Sigourney executed the first 1080 in competition, took home the bronze with a high score of 90.66.
“I am always happy to be on the podium,” Sigourney said. “It was definitely stressful today and I don’t usually ski well under pressure but I pulled it off today.”
Wise wins men’s superpipe
Before a capacity crowd, David Wise – in just his second Winter X Games – overcame overwhelming odds to capture gold in men’s ski superpipe with a top score of 93.00.
“I just didn’t think about it as pressure,” Wise said. “I just focused on the perfect halfpipe and perfect conditions. I just wanted to show the world who I am and what I can do. Thanks to everyone for giving me the opportunity to show you what I can do in the pipe.”
All the talk before the competition revolved around Kevin Rolland’s attempt at a three-peat and Aspen’s Torin Yater-Wallace’s attempt at capturing gold in his hometown. All the while Wise flew under the radar and consistently put on great runs.
Joining Wise on the podium with the silver medal is another relatively unknown skier Noah Bowman, who entered Winter X Games Aspen 2012 as a second alternate and found out he would be competing two hours before the elimination round.
“It was kind of nice, I was just looking at this week as a good practice week – having fun with it,” Bowman said with a smile. ” Having fun all week and no pressure thinking about the comp – that was good. Sadly a couple of guys got hurt – but for me it was nice to be in and just making it to finals – I couldn’t believe I did that. Then putting down a good run today and being rewarded for it – it feels good.”
Last year’s silver medalist Yater-Wallace grabbed the bronze with a high-score of 89.66.
“I felt like I was expected to do well,” Yater-Wallace said. “I tried to put the pressure aside, but it is so hard as you are standing at the top about to drop. I am stoked that I am on the podium again.”
Holland wins snowboarder X
In 2011, Nate Holland arrived to Winter X Games in hopes of a six-peat in men’s snowboarder X. He left with the bronze. And while Saturday’s gold medal doesn’t totally make up for last year, he is back on the podium’s top spot joined by two fellow Americans.
“It always feels great to be on top,” Holland said. “I knew I just had to ride my heart out and back my words up and I was able to do that. I am fired up to be back on top.”
Holland hung in second through most of the race just behind Norway’s Stian Sivertzen. As the riders approached the final leg of the race Sivertzen caught an edge, fell, and took out himself and hard-charging Pierre Vaultier.
“I was able to catch up to Stian but I wasn’t able to pass him,” Holland said as he recounted the final turns of the race. “Then Pierre Vaultier came up and I knew it was going to be a battle. We went in the next turn and Stian went down and I made it out of the carnage. It was so beautiful to see the finish line without Nick Baumgartner in front of me.”
Last year’s gold medalist Baumgartner said it wasn’t an ideal way to finish second, but one he will gladly accept.
“I was doing everything I could to hang on and get myself in position where if something should happen I could capitalize on it,” the Iron River, Michigan native said. “It wasn’t the way I wanted to get second, but I will take it.”
The USA sweep was wrapped up by bronze medalist Jayson Hale, returning to the podium after a six-year absence.
“It was my typical X Games race, always scrapping from the back and passing hoping to get up front,” Hale added. “Scrapping and passing and finally drafting. I am stoked to be on the podium with these boys. Nate and I haven’t been on a podium together since 2006, so it feels pretty good to be back up here.”
Canadian Dominique Maltais won the women’s snowboard X frown Saturday as well.
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