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News > Four-peats and Firsts: Winter X Recap

Four-peats and Firsts: Winter X Recap Hot

Shaun WhiteShaun White, along with many athletes, rocked the Winter X-Games in AspenIt was the year of four-peats and firsts at Winter X-Games 15 held in Aspen, Colorado.

The Sultan of the Superpipe, Shaun White, was up to his old tricks again – actually his new tricks – winning his fourth-consecutive Superpipe Gold Medal. White cemented the win with his newly patented “Double McTwist 1260” in his second run, earning a score of 97.33.

For those not acquainted with the Double McTwist – it’s a dizzying 3½ rotations and two-flips packaged in one vertigo-inducing maneuver.

White’s four-peat was his second at the X-Games, capturing Snowboard Slopestyle from 2003-06, and the first-ever in Men’s Superpipe.

The “Flying Tomato” took part in another first – failing to qualify for the Men’s Slopestyle, something he’d never done before. It was just the second time White ever missed the final round in an X-Games event he entered.

In White’s stead, rookie Sebastien Toutant, or “Seb Toots”, laid down the highest score ever in Snowboard Slopestyle with a 93 in his first run – capturing Gold with ease.

In the women’s event, Enni Rukajärvi became the first Finnish woman to earn an X-Games Medal – in the process taking out two-time defending champion Jenny Jones to become the first rookie since Barrett Christy in 1997 to win the competition.

Lindsey Jacobellis laid claim to her own four-peat over the weekend – easily taking Gold in Women’s Snowboarder-X. The Gold Medal was Jacobellis’ seventh, making her the X-Games’ winningest woman ever. Jacobellis credited her performance to taking a break from snowboarding all summer and pursuing other activities such as surfing.

Trick evolution was also the order of the day at Winter-X as two athletes, Norway’s Torstein Horgmo and the United States’ Kelly Clark, elevated their sports to new heights – literally.

Competing with broken ribs on his left side, Horgmo attempted the first triple-cork in Snowboard Big Air HiskellyclarkKelly Clark landed the 1080 at the X-Gamestory, and crashed hard not once, but twice. Despite aggravating the excruciating rib injury, Horgmo nailed the trick in grand fashion on his third attempt – grabbing his second X-Games Gold. Anybody who’s ever suffered broken ribs understands how miraculous Horgmo’s feat truly is.

Superpipe Gold Medalist Kelly Clark became the first woman to attempt and land the 1080 in competition after rumors swirled all week she would attempt the maneuver. Clark finished ahead of hometown girl Gretchen Bleiler, tasting Gold for the first time since 2006.

Fellow competitors mobbed Clark after her run, proud of her accomplishment for the women. “I came out here to land my 10[80], it was pretty amazing,” Clark exclaimed.

And the first kept on a-coming.

It was the first time in five years that France’s Ophelie David finished less than Gold in Women’s Skier X – crashing across the finish line just behind Canadian Kelsey Serwa. Both women were bloodied and bruised after selling out across the finish line, but in good spirits once the dust settled.

In Men’s Snowboarding X, Nick Baumgartner won his first medal (of any kind) in seven X-Games appearances against the odds. In true X-Games style, he won Gold with 15 screws and a plate inserted in his collarbone after suffering a nasty snowboarding injury two weeks prior. Baumgartner dethroned Nate Holland who was looking for his sixth-straight Gold in the event.

Similarly, always the bridesmaid in Men’s Ski Slopestyle, Sammy Carlson won Gold for the first time in five attempts in the event.

Then there was Tucker Hibbert, the prohibitive favorite entering the Snowmobile Snocross competition. Hibbert didn’t disappoint, winning his fifth-straight Gold in the event and sixth overall.

It was also the first time anyone saw Kevin Pearce at the Winter X-Games since his traumatic brain injury suffered during a 2009 training session in Park City, Utah. Pearce provided colorful commentary for ESPN and was glad to be involved in the sport again after a long and arduous recovery process.

Ryan O’Leary

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