Wescott looks to end X Games boardercross hex
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN, Colo. – Seth Wescott is definitely aware of his drought at the Winter X Games.
The boardercross rider is winless in 12 attempts at this event, and insists there’s no added incentive to bring home a gold in the finals Saturday.
He’s way more concerned about getting down the mountain unharmed than ending any dubious streak.
After all, the Winter Olympics await.
Wescott is the reigning Olympic champion in the event, but has struggled in the X Games setting. He can’t seem to lasso that elusive gold, finishing runner-up three times.
He could be on his way to breaking the hex.
Wescott earned the top spot in qualifying Friday, zipping down the course with ease, but he’s a little reluctant to charge after that medal. Going full tilt in the finals could lead to an injury – and that’s NOT an option with the Vancouver Games just two weeks away.
“Clearly, (winning gold) is something I want to do,” Wescott said of the sport that’s referred to as Snowboarder X at the X Games. “But the biggest thing is to come through with no injury. I want to go out and ride well, but I’m not really dwelling on the outcome this year. The Olympics is the big one.”
Wescott wasn’t the only member of the U.S. squad to fare well in qualifying. Nate Holland and Graham Watanabe finished second and third, and Nick Baumgartner was fifth.
For Wescott, this was the first competition in quite some time where he’s been relatively pain-free. He’s been bothered by a sore pelvis since a hard landing at a competition in Telluride in December.
With Olympic qualifying going on, he couldn’t afford give it a rest. But he recently took a week off, which did wonders for his health.
“It was good to feel better (out there),” Wescott said.
Well, at least in part. Wescott is still dealing with a nagging right knee injury.
“When I get into situations where I really out-jump the landings and stuff, it gets sore,” Wescott explained. “The most important thing for me is that in 16 or 17 days here I feel healthy. I’m pushing as hard as I can, but trying to be gentle, let my body get back to where it needs to be.”
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.