If Max Parrot beating the favourite Mark McMorris in the men’s X Games slopestyle felt like a giant slaying, there was an upset of equal magnitude in the women’s contest which took place immediately afterwards.
x games 2014 – silje norendal’s winning slopstyle run
The fact that she’d achieved a similar feat in Tignes last March had served as a warning that Silje was more than capable of beating the world’s best. But over the course of the FIS-run Olympic qualifying campaign her name had been conspicuously absent from the lists of medal winners.
Silje’s instagram shot from immediately after she won – surrounded by the other finalists.
So going into these X Games, no-one was really expecting her to whip out a world-beating performance. It was assumed that provided she didn’t fall, Jamie Anderson would be adding yet another X Games medal to her increasingly large collection, and re-affirming her status at the top of the slopestyle tree just a couple of weeks before Sochi.
But when Silje finished her first run, it was obvious the young Norwegian wasn’t just going to roll over and let that happen. Her combo over the kickers – front 3, backside 5, cab 7 and switch backside 5 – saw her spinning all four ways and earned an impressive 93.
x games 2014 – jamie anderson’s 2nd place slopestyle run
Jamie replied with the kind of run you’d expect from a multiple gold medallist going for that most hideous of X Games-isms, the “three-peat”. Her rail game was second to none, (check the gap to back lip on the down-flat-down box) and her kickers – switch back 5, back 7, back five, cab 7 – earned her a 95 and first place.
For the second time we found ourselves watching a new champion being crowned. Sochi could shape up to be a very interesting contest indeed…
Of course our attention at this point was more focussed on what was going on further up the start list as Aimee Fuller put down an impressive first run which included of her signature two laid-out backflips.
Unfortunately she didn’t manage to improve on that score for the rest of the night, stacking on both runs where she attempted the double backie. But she still finished the contest in 7th, which is a pretty rad result for the Brit!
When the second runs came around, all eyes were on Silje, who stacked it. Jamie threw pretty much the same run, but sketched a landing slightly, and didn’t improve. But Canadian Spencer O’Brien meanwhile edged Silje out of the silver medal spot with a sick combination of back 5, switch back 5, back 7 and front 7.
x games 2014 – spencer o’brien’s 3rd place slopestyle run
Perhaps that was the kick Silje needed, because she responded by upping her rail game significantly, before giving that todeo 7 it’s first outing of the evening, and following up with a back 5, cab 7 and a perfect switch back 5 to finish. Boom!
Jamie still had a run left of course, but couldn’t find anything to answer Silje’s all out assault. Was she going for a 900 on that final kicker? Possibly, but with a bit of a but check higher up it might not have helped her anyway.
For the second time in the space of a few hours, we found ourselves watching a new champion being crowned, and sensed the upsetting of the established order just weeks ahead of slopestyle’s Olympic debut. Sochi could shape up to be a very interesting contest indeed…
x games 2014 women’s slopestyle results
Click on the R next to each score to watch the run in full.
|4||Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas||R27.66||R88.00||R24.66||88.00|