CANADIAN O’BRIEN FINALLY LANDS GOLD RUN
aspen » Spencer O’Brien ended her 10year X Games gold drought with a 91point run Friday to win slopestyle.
The 27- year- old snowboarder edged fourtime X Games gold medalist Jamie Anderson in the eight- woman finals. O’Brien’s winning run included a switch backside 720 and finished with a frontside 720.
After struggling on her first two runs, Anderson, who never has missed the podium at X Games, also threw a couple of 720s with a big backside rodeo in between but was two points shy of O’Brien. Anderson’s silver is her 11th X Games medal.
“It’s hard to deal with pressure and nerves and energy,” said Anderson, riding in her second competition since returning from a broken collarbone that left her laid up for fourweeks. “Iwas struggling onmy first couple of runs. Didn’t feel really solid.”
In her first trip to X Games, 15- year- old Hailey Langland of San Clemente, Calif., picked up bronze with an 88- point run.
Backward for gold.
Joe Parsons, the most decorated snowmobiler in X Games history, claimed his fourth X Games gold in the return of freestyle. The 28- year- old from Washington state threwthe rare sit- andspin trick, which is a backflipwhere he spins and lands sitting backward, on his final run to lock in his 15th X Games medal. He hadn’t thrown the trick in a year. “It’s not a very fun trick to practice. It’s kind of an in- the- moment thing,” said Parsons, who last won freestyle in 2009.
Idaho’s Heath Frisby won silver, his 11th X Games medal in as many X Games. Defending freestyle champion ColtenMoore crashed twice on his two runs.
Four in a row.
California freeskier Maddie Bowman claimed her fourth consecutive gold medal in the halfpipe. Bowman, 22, started with back- to- back 900s, then a first- ever switch 900 to finish.
Bowman, who had knee surgery in February last year and returned to competition last month, learned that switch 900 only two nights earlier during practice.
Ayana Onzuka, who was the first woman from Japan to win a silver medal in the X Games in last year’s pipe contest, repeated her silver- medal performance Friday with a pair of 720s and a first- hit 540 that reached nearly 10 feet above the deck.
The schedule could get dicey for the weekend because the area is under a winter storm warning until 9 a. m. Sunday. The NationalWeather Service is forecasting snow accumulations of 8 to 16 inches and winds of 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. The heaviest part of the storm is expected to hit Saturday night. Saturday’s scheduled finals are the men’s snowboard slopestyle at noon and halfpipe at 6: 15 p. m.; monoskier at 11 a. m. and skicross starting at 2 p. m.; and ski big air at 8: 15 p. m.
Tim Reed, who oversees the day- to- day X Games operations, said Friday they have “flexibility to move some things around.”