Britain’s Jenny Jones takes gold in Aspen X slopestyle
ASPEN ” Jenny Jones nearly had a gold medal handed to her Saturday at snowy Buttermilk in Aspen. That would have been sweet, Jones said, but earning it in snowboard slopestyle felt much better.
“This is amazing,” said a beaming Jones, trying to hold back tears, after she stomped a huge 720 on her final run ” the last of the day ” to bump Spencer O’Brien of Whistler, B.C., to silver and Megan Ginter of Seattle to bronze.
All this drama from a Winter X final that almost never happened. After watching two female skiers get carted off the mountain in sleds during a women’s skier slopestyle final marked by brutal crashes, Jones said she and her fellow competitors briefly considered not even competing Saturday. As the top qualifier coming in, Jones said the thought of claiming her first Winter X Games medal without even having to do any work was enticing.
“All the girls were like, should we just call it off and go with the qualifying results? I was like, well, OK,'” said Jones, who hails all the way from Bristol, Great Britain. “But I didn’t say it, because I can’t be the one that says that. Then we got to the top and it stopped snowing and then everyone was like, ‘Game on.'”
Jones may have been the top qualifier Friday, but that meant nothing once Saturday’s final went off. Sitting in second behind O’Brien before her final trip down the mountain, Jones decided not to hold anything back ” going for the 720 off the final kicker despite never having pulled it off once in practice runs.
“I realized what I was doing wasn’t enough, so I just had try my best and go for a seven,” she said. “I thought, ‘What the hell, I might as well give it a go.’ And I just can’t believe I landed it. I actually landed.”
And actually won the gold. It all added up to sweet redemption for Jones after two previous disappointments on action sports’ biggest stage. She blew out her knee in slopestyle practice at her first Winter X appearance, in 2001, then finished just off the podium last year.
O’Brien, after grabbing the lead with an 87.66-point run, wanted to bump up her score on her final run but fell on a landing. The 20-year-old was happy to settle for silver, however, after taking bronze last year.
“There was a run that I wanted to do, but I’m stoked on how I rode and Jenny rode amazing,” she said. “I’m so proud of her. She totally deserves it. It’s a long time coming for her.”
Ginter earned her first Winter X medal after finishing sixth last year in her first appearance at Buttermilk. Defending champion Jamie Anderson didn’t compete in the final after pulling out of competition Friday, citing a hip injury.
All three podium finishers said the heavy snow throughout the morning made a challenging course even more daunting Saturday.
“But luckily nobody got hurt,” said O’Brien. She added: “The weather obviously wasn’t with us today, but we made it happen and I’m really proud of all the girls.”
Go to http://www.aspentimes.com/xgames for complete coverage of Winter X Games 13.
1. Jenny Jones / Bristol, Great Britain / 90.00
2. Spencer O’Brien / Whistler, B.C., Canada / 87.66
3. Megan Ginter / Seattle, Wash. / 82.00
4. Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas / Trondheim, Norway / 75.00
5. Hana Beaman / Big Bear, Calif. / 65.33
6. Kimmy Fasani / Mammoth Lakes, Calif. / 64.00
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