Canadian boarder Darcy Sharpe win slopestyle for first X Games Aspen gold medal
With fewer than five minutes remaining Saturday in the X Games men’s snowboard slopestyle final, Canadian star Darcy Sharpe dropped in ranked eighth — last place. Sharpe thought if he landed his best run he could jump up, maybe, into the medal mix.
But replacing Red Gerard in gold-medal position? That seemed a bit of a stretch.
“I did not think I could beat what Red was doing all day,” Sharpe said afterward, speaking on his first X Games Aspen gold. “We don’t pay that much attention, because we are kind of, like, in our own bubble. He was dropping right behind me, we gotta get back up there, (it’s) fast laps. But I didn’t think I was going to beat his riding because he was just so on point, dealing with the pressure, stomping.”
Seconds after Gerard dropped in with just under three minutes remaining for his fourth and final run, the unofficial ranking order bumped Sharpe from last to first. Talking on the win and the new scoreless jam and judging format, Sharpe said he enjoyed the fresh approach though he wasn’t exactly sure what helped him jump to gold.
“It’s tough to say, I’m a squirrely dude. I don’t know what anyone sees in me,” Sharpe said with a laugh.
Sharpe thinks the judges appreciated his rail riding, specifically his hard-way cab 2(70) pull-back. It’s a trick that has a snowboarder ride a rail unnaturally with a 270-degree rotation before rotating the opposite way of the body’s natural physics.
For the jump section, Sharpe felt his transition riding was rewarded, namely his front triple-cork landing which he rode smoothly into the side quarter-pipe hit at the bottom of the course.
“Even though it wasn’t a trick, it was tricky,” Sharpe said.
While Gerard sat in first for the majority of the competition and dropped into his last run still in first on the unofficial scoreboard, he ended up finishing with a bronze medal. Norwegian Mons Roisland jumped him for the silver medal.
Despite the bittersweet element of going in the final moments from gold-medal position to bronze-medal position, Gerard said winning his first X Games Aspen medal was a dream come true.
“Really, it’s nuts,” Gerard said. “Honestly it’s been a dream as a kid to win an X Games medal. Just really happy I was able to land all four runs here today and psyched.”
That said, from a competition standpoint, one would have to think it was tough for Gerard to get to the bottom of the course on his final run only to see Sharpe had gone from eighth to first. Gerard said he tried not to notice the scores throughout the competition, choosing instead to find out when he found out. Still, one has to think he glanced up at the fluid rankings at least a couple of times during the competition.
As for his runs, Gerard began the competition with a strong line through the course that put him in silver-medal position, once again showing he can settle his nerves in the biggest moments while other snowboarders falter. Gerard on that first run landed the big new trick he’s been working on recently, a switch backside triple-cork 1440 to put him in second place position.
Gerard took over gold-medal position on his second run, which featured a run through the rails that included a board slide on the top rail, a backside 270 onto and another 270 off of the next rail and a switch backside 270 on the third rail. In the jumps section, Gerard landed a switch frontside 900, a backside 1260 and a frontside double-cork 1080 on the side hit.
After Gerard’s third run, similar to his second, he was still in first. Afterward he signed an autograph for a young fan in the front row wearing a Red’s Backyard terrain park sweatshirt. Then, after he saw Sharpe passed him by after on his fourth and final run, Gerard spoke glowingly of his 23-year-old snowboard pro friend.
Though Red was so close, this was Darcy’s gold-medal moment. The 19-year-old from Silverthorne soon enough may have his own golden glory in Aspen.
“He’s been working so hard on and off the snow,” Gerard said. “So it’s really sick to see him win his first gold medal. He’s such a nice guy and so humble. I think this was waiting to come for him.”