Winter X Games Aspen Day 3 tidbits: Japan’s Otsuka finishes 6th but should get gold for persistence |

Winter X Games Aspen Day 3 tidbits: Japan’s Otsuka finishes 6th but should get gold for persistence

A few odds and ends from Day 3 of the X Games Aspen 2021 at Buttermilk.


“X Games and ESPN and everyone and Aspen went through all the right protocol to make sure we came here safe. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m just about over getting COVID tests up my nose. But that’s the reality at the moment and that’s what we have to do to be safe.”

— Scotty James, the Australian snowboarder who took silver Sunday night in the superpipe

Australian snowboarder Scotty James prepares to compete in the men’s snowboard superpipe finals during the 2021 X Games Aspen at Buttermilk on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. James took home the silver medal. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)


While there were a few hard landings Sunday, thankfully there was not a major spill by anyone across the six medal events on the final day of X Games Aspen 2021.

Sunday was a full day, and it was good to see all the athletes who were pushing themselves able to get up and keep going, including Takeru Otsuka.

The Japanese rider who won Aspen big air in 2019 was sitting in fourth place going into his third run and pushing to crack into the top three in the 2021 version when he took his first fall of the night. Otsuka wasn’t able to get around on his final rotation and land hard on his back, sliding into the landing area, where the medical team got to him quickly. After a few minutes, he was able to get up and ride away.

He was cleared by the X Games medical team and came out for his fourth run, which ended again in him unable to finish the final rotation and landing on his back. Not one to shy away from a challenge, he tried yet again on his fifth and final run …. same result.

He finished sixth in the event but should get gold for persistence.


Miyabi Onitsuka put the big in big air on Sunday.

On her first hit off the big air jump, the Japanese rider who won snowboard big air gold in Aspen in 2020 threw down a cab 12 (three and a half rotations) to earn a 47 out of 50 from the judges.

“The cab 12 was the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time,” American snowboarder Jamie Anderson said after the event.

Onitsuka landed the trick for the first time ever Saturday at practice in the Buttermilk superpipe. She ended up with a silver medal in big air, finishing just behind Anderson, who won her first X Games big air gold.

Japanese snowboarder Miyabi Onitsuka holds her silver medal on the podium after the 2021 X Games women’s big air finals at Buttermilk on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

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