Highlights from Sunday at Winter X
Aspen, CO Colorado
• Carbondale’s Peter Olenick captured his first Winter X gold – and a Guinness world record to boot.
The 25-year-old boosted 24 feet, 11 inches out the Buttermilk pipe to seal victory in the inaugural ski superpipe high air competition. Justin Dorey finished second at 23 feet, 9 inches, and superpipe gold medalist Kevin Rolland nabbed the bronze with a leap of 23 feet, 4 inches.
“I’m feeling pretty awesome, and a little sore,” Olenick joked as he addressed an adoring crowd during the awards ceremony. “The pipe was perfect. The fans were loud. … Right before my last run, my brother said , ‘Go 25 [feet]. You’re 25.’ I was an inch short, but I’ll take it. I’ll round up.”
Olenick received a surprise on the podium when, in an addition to being handed his goggle-shaped gold medal, he was given a certificate from Guinness officials, who were on hand to witness his record jump out of the pipe.
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• Chris Del Bosco, a Vail resident and dual citizen who will compete for Canada in the Winter Olympics, claimed his first skiercross gold in five trips to Winter X.
Canadians Dave Duncan and Brady Leman finished second and third, respectively, on a day that was overshadowed by American Daron Rahlves’ nasty crash during his opening run.
Rahlves dislocated his right hip in the fall, according to The Associated Press. X Games officials said that the hip had been popped back into the joint, the 36-year-old was putting pressure on it and that he was released from Aspen Valley Hospital on Sunday evening.
Rahlves, who has dislocated his hip four times, is one of two Americans slated to take part in skiercross in the Olympics. The other, Casey Puckett of Aspen, is also battling injuries. He is trying to recuperate after dislocating his shoulder in a World Cup race earlier this month. Earlier this week, he suffered a minor setback when he fell during training.
The doctor who tended to Rahlves on site told the AP he was optimistic about the four-time Olympian’s chances of competing in Vancouver.
“People who have multiple hip dislocations, the tissues get so loose and go in and out, and it doesn’t cause so much damage,” Dr. Kevin Stone said. “Hopefully, that’s the situation here, and hopefully he can come back quickly.”
• Nate Holland has company.
One day after Holland set a Winter X record with a fifth-consecutive victory in boardercross, Tucker Hibbert accomplished the feat in snocross. He did so in dominating fashion, vaulting into the lead early then coasting to a nearly 28-second win.
Ross Martin finished second and Ryan Simons third.
The medal is Hibbert’s ninth at Winter X.
“I just got an excellent start, and I was able to put it all together and kept plugging away,” Hibbert said in an ESPN news release. “I am grateful for all my races, good and bad. I have learned from them all.”
• Vive la France.
Where Sarah Burke failed in Friday’s superpipe, France’s Ophelie David triumphed, topping the field in Sunday’s skiercross to claim her fourth consecutive gold medal – a first for ski athletes.
The reigning champion was near the back of the pack out of the starting gates but steadily worked her way to the front. Canadians Ashleigh McIvor and Kelsey Serwa finished second and third, respectively.
“You want to win, but Ophelie is the best in the world,” McIvor said in an ESPN news release. “Second is still good with me. She drafted me and flew by. I was just glad it was only her.”
• Eero Ettala nabbed the eighth and final qualifying spot for Sunday’s snowboard slopestyle. He made it count.
The Helsinki, Finland, resident’s first run garnered a 93.33 from judges. The rest of the field tried – and failed – all afternoon to top him.
X Games rookie Eric Willett of Breckenridge finished second with an 86.33. Chas Guldemond (84.33) wound up third to pick up his first Winter X medal.
Reigning champion Shaun White, who is focusing on halfpipe training in advance of the Winter Games, elected not to compete
• Jenny Jones battled through a sore knee Sunday and came through with a solid second run to top the field in women’s snowboard slopestyle.
Jones’ winning run, which included two 540s and a frontside 720 off the final hit, garnered a 92.66 from judges. Jamie Anderson (89.33) finished second, and Janna Meyen-Weatherby (75.66) took home the bronze.
• Mike Schultz secured the first-ever gold medal awarded in adaptive snocross.
The event featured six competitors battling on the same course used for snowmobile snocross, with slight modifications. Jim Wazny finished second and Doug Henry third.
“We all struggle every day, but an event and competition like this gives us so much energy to go out and compete,” Henry said in a news release.
• Tyler Walker defended his 2009 mono skiercross crown in a tight finish.
The New Hampshire native was the lone skier to stay upright during last year’s three-man final. This time around, he had to hold off two competitors during a race to the finish. Walker wound up crossing the line in 2 minutes, 4.87 seconds – about 3 seconds ahead of Gregory Peck. Kevin Connolly took the bronze.
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