ASPEN - What rivalry?
In the weeks leading up to the men's slopestyle competition, Shaun White and Mark McMorris dominated headlines in their expected showdown, pitting one emerging star against the face of winter action sports.
The billing didn't exactly live up to the hype as McMorris, a 19 year-old from Regina, Saskatchewan, hit a 94 on his first run, which no one surpassed Saturday afternoon. White failed to produce one clean run, coming close on his first run, but dragged his hand landing a triple cork off the final jump. McMorris easily claimed his second straight gold medal in slopestyle and posted the highest score in event history with a 98 on his final run.
McMorris' first run consisted of a clean rail section up top and then a Cab double under flip, a frontside 1080 double cork, a double wildcat and a backside triple-cork 1440.
With the gold medal already secure, McMorris changed his first jump to a Cab 1260 double flip.
"I got that Cab 1260 back in big air last night," McMorris said. "That was kind of the long-term goal coming in to the X Games, doing that run. I would have been fine doing the other run, but it was a big goal of mine, and I'm hyped to reach it."
The youngest competitor in the field, Maxence Perrot, was the only other participant to score in the 90s. The 18-year-old from Bromont, Quebec, landed his first run of the day to post a 90. It held up for silver, his first medal since his double-bronze performance in 2011.
However, all eyes were on White in his second turn on the course. It appeared that he had a set of tricks to compete with McMorris, but landing them was another matter.
The 26-year-old from Carlsbad, Calif., fell face first trying to land the second jump of the course. In his final run, White botched a landing on the first rail and then fell again on the same jump.
"That (first mistake) set the tone for the rest of the run," White said during the ESPN broadcast. "It was over at that point."
Added McMorris, "He's still getting back into slopestyle. He has tricks; I just don't think they're as consistent as the rest of us. ... Today wasn't his day."
When all other competitors failed to come close to McMorris' mark, the silver medalist in Friday night's big-air competition found just enough energy to put his name in the slopestyle record books.
"I was definitely tired," McMorris said. "I couldn't really sleep on what happened last night. There was too much running through my head. This has been such a long time coming. I was so excited, and that took away some of that tiredness."
Seppe Smits, of Belarus, claimed bronze with a first-round score of 85.
White still has a chance to find a podium spot today when he tries for his sixth straight X Games gold in the superpipe final.