X Games Aspen Day 1 notebook: Gremaud regroups to win big air; Anderson first woman to throw off knuckle huck
Day one of X Games Aspen did not disappoint. From history-making moments to two rookies nabbing gold medals, the athletes gave the fans at home something big to cheer about.
WOMEN’S SKI BIG AIR
Right before nailing the first switch double cork 1440 to ever be landed in a women’s ski big air competition, Mathilde Gremaud had a major crash.
Gremaud went big on Friday in her first attempt at the 1440 during the women’s ski big air competition at X Games Aspen 2021. Just a little bit too big.
She ended up yard saling in a hard slam off the 70-foot big air jump, but somehow found the mental and physical strength to shake it off and return to the top of the jump to try again for her final hit of the competition.
And this time, the Swiss freestyle skier succeeded.
Gremaud landed the switch double cork 1440, seemingly with ease, to seal the deal for her to take home her third gold in the event (she earned a silver in big air at X Games Aspen 2020) and cement her place in the X Games history books.
Canadian skier Megan Oldham, coming off a first-place finish in X Games Norway 2020, had a strong showing and placed second in the event.
Oldham put down some clean switch 1080s and a big double cork 1260 to put her on the podium.
Rookie Eileen Gu, kicked off what would be a big day of competition for her – later winning gold in ski superpipe – getting bronze in her first X Games event.
Notably missing from the big air lineup was Kelly Sildaru, who was injured in warmup and being evaluated by X Games medical staff.
SNOWBOARD KNUCKLE HUCK
Knuckle Huck is one of the only events in X Games where there are seemingly no rules allowing for an abundance of creativity and athletes upping the bar in every run.
In it’s third year at X Games, the bar was pushed even further with Jamie Anderson, who earlier on Friday won slopestyle gold, entering the competition and becoming the first woman to ever drop in on snowboard knuckle huck.
“I was standing up for the girls,” Anderson said. “I thought we should have a women’s Real Snow and we should have a women’s knuckle huck. And boom, they are like, ‘Do you want to compete?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know. I guess so. I guess I have to now.’ So I’m really grateful to compete with the boys.”
Anderson was the picture of consistency for the entire 20-minute jam session, flawlessly landing each trick she threw down.
But it was X Games rookie Dusty Henricksen who took home the one and only knuckle huck prize: the golden knuckles.
There is no telling which trick got him the gold since the judges pick the winner based on overall impression and there are no live standings, but no doubt about it, Henricksen had one heck of an X Games debut.
And Anderson is already looking forward to X Games 2022 for knuckle huck to level up again, this time with a women’s specific competition.
“Hopefully next year we’ll have a girls’ category,” Anderson said. “So be careful what you ask for, because it comes really quick.”
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