Fisher flies in winning superpipe
Aspen Times Staff Writer
As soon as Shaun White won the men’s snowboard slopestyle Saturday, his third consecutive gold in the X Games, all attention shifted to the superpipe, where he was once again the consensus favorite.
But White, who was looking unbeatable in the superpipe preliminaries Sunday night, took a nasty fall in a practice run moments before the finals. With an injured right knee, he pulled out of the competition.
But his absence may not have mattered, as Steve Fisher, a native of St. Louis Park, Minn., who now calls Breckenridge home, pulled out an immaculate run that may have been unbeatable even by Shaun White standards.
And Fisher won the competition ” a best of three runs ” on his first attempt, throwing and sticking a frontside 900, a 1080, and back to back cab 700s.
“Fisher’s the man,” said silver medalist Danny Kass of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., about his friend and fellow competitor. “He’s riding really good, he had everybody on their toes tonight.
“He raised the bar.”
The 2003 U.S. national champion’s maneuvers were so clean and tight that it didn’t seem like anybody could challenge his first-round score of 93.33. But more than two hours later, with only three riders left, and in front of not only a live ESPN audience, but a live SportsCenter audience (which seems even bigger for some reason), everything was up for grabs.
Heading into the final three, which consisted of Kass, Fisher and Ross Powers of Stratton, Vt., who was holding tight in fifth place with a score of 90, the top three consisted of Fisher, Keir Dillon of East Stroudsburg, Penn., and Kass.
Kass had been sitting pretty in second place before Dillon, who ran right before Kass in the final round, aired out a big run that catapulted him into second place. Dillon caught nearly 20 feet of air off the first kick and landed a clean 720 and 900 to reach second place with a score of 92.66.
But Kass answered, stomping out a superb run that consisted of a frontside 1080 and a cab 900. For a moment following his run, it seemed possible Kass could surpass Fisher’s first-round score, but he came up just short, receiving a 93 from the judges but reclaiming second place from Dillon.
“I feel good,” Kass said. “I’m stoked [with silver].”
Fisher, who ran next, knew he would take home gold unless Powers, who ran last, pulled out the run of his life. After a lengthy television break, a visibly cold Fisher stumbled his way down the pipe, falling twice before sliding to the bottom of the pipe. Needless to say, his first run was still his best.
It was now up to the veteran, 24-year-old Powers, the two-time Olympic medalist ” bronze in 1998 and gold in 2002 ” and 1998 X Games double gold medalist.
Powers threw down a front 900, a switch McTwist and a cab 900, but it wasn’t good enough to top Fisher. It wasn’t even good enough to top his own, earlier score of 90.
So Fisher held on to take home gold with Kass and Dillon rounding out the top three. Kazuhiro Kokubo of Japan placed fourth with Powers landing in fifth.
[Steve Benson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]