Castellet wins her first X Games gold, celebrates grandmother’s 85th birthday
Queralt Castellet was the last snowboarder to drop in on the final run of the jam-session style superpipe competition Saturday evening.
After her final go, which featured a frontside 900 and a backside 540, the Spaniard and returning silver medalist waited for the announcement. When her name came over the loudspeakers, she threw her head back and thrusted her hands into the air in celebration.
She said her first-ever X Games gold medal was all the sweeter because she earned it on her grandmother’s 85th birthday.
“For me, I was coming here to do the best possible performance for her and I did,” said the 30-year-old Castellet. “Happy birthday, Yaya. I love you and I’m so happy.”
On her third run, third-place finisher Haruna Matsumoto landed the first frontside 1080 of the competition. Kurumi Imai followed with a frontside 1080 followed by a frontside 900 to shoot her to the top of the standings for the time being. Castellet stunned the crowd with a backside 900 followed by a frontside 900.
“I always want to clean up the run with a front-nine. When I had the opportunity, I decided to do the back nine in front,” Catellet said. “It’s very hard to land, but I decided to give it a go. It worked and I’m so stoked.”
After three rounds she sat in second place behind Japan’s Imai, but she stumbled on her final run. Her small mistake could have been the difference between silver and gold.
Going into the event, all eyes were on California native Maddie Mastro, who had been landing the double crippler in practice. The American nearly landed the trick on her second run, but that was as close as she came all night. On her three other attempts, Mastro hit the snow. She ended the event in eighth place, while 14-year-old Canadian Brooke D’Hondt finished sixth.
The field was slightly different than expected as Steamboat rider Arielle Gold dropped out of the event earlier in the day. Even with Gold gone and the absence of the reigning champion Chloe Kim, Castellet still knew she needed to give it her all to secure the victory.
“The level tonight was insane,” she said. “Now there is not just one person doing perfect 10s, there’s a lot of riders doing incredible tricks. … You can’t think you’re gonna do well because someone’s not here.”
Ella Johnson gave thought to the risk when she decided to close out her senior year at Glenwood Springs High School playing soccer and make a bid for another shot at the Class 4A state track meet podium finish.
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