Words & Photos by Ed Blomfield
In football they say the first premier league trophy is the hardest to win (and as a long suffering Liverpool fan I can vouch for that!). Once you’ve proven to yourself that you can do it and have the heart - as well as the skills - to win, the titles will follow.
That’s the theory anyway, and it’s one that seems to be coming true for the UK’s Jenny Jones. Today she threw down when it counted - yet again - to add the inaugural European X-Games slopestyle gold medal to her previous two X-Games victories in 2009 and February this year. Funny to think that just a month or two ago the American TV commentators were questioning her first win since a couple of big names had been missing from the field. Not any more. I believe they call this a ‘THREE-PEAT’, bitches!
In qualification the women had really struggled to overcome a lack of speed and unpredictable gusts of wind on the gnarly seven-hit course. By today, however, both the set-up and the weather had improved dramatically meaning the girls were able to showcase their full bags of tricks.
Jenny’s winning run included a front 5, cab 5 and a perfectly grabbed front 7 on the last booter. She was followed by the ever stylee Norwegian Kjersti Buaas and Switzerland’s Sina Candrien – who attempted a gutsy 900 on the last hit. Cue many a group hug, high fives and general smiles, not just from the riders but from the spectators too. Jenny is always a popular winner thanks to a super friendly attitude and endearing modesty that borders on the ridiculous (the first thing she said to me was, “Did I definitely deserve to beat Sina’s run?"); here in Tignes, she was enjoying more support from ever from a big British contingent in the crowd.
“It was nice to show [the world] that a British girl can ride without looking too retarded!" she explained in the press conference afterwards, to much laughter from the assembled journos (when the MC translated her comments into a politically-correct French version, Jenny said, “Did you translate retarded?!" Classic.).
Since Tignes is where Jones’ snowboarding career began as a precocious seasonaire back in 1998, the victory here at the bottom of the familiar Lanches run was extra special. We caught up with her in the melee for a brief interview. Check it out here.
Results – Women’s Slopestyle
1. Jenny Jones GBR 92.33
2. Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas NOR 86.66
3. Sina Candrian SUI 83.00
3. Spencer O’Brien CAN 80.66
4. Silje Norendal NOR 63.33
5. Charlotte van Gils NED 48.33