Sunday, January 26, 2014

As the 2014 XGames close today in Aspen with the Snowboard SuperPipe Men's Final at 7:15pm, we begin to think about the upcoming Olympics in Sochi.  Although the Alpine team hasn't been chosen as yet, we have 4 Aspenites heading to the Olympics and this town couldn't be more excited!  Torin Yater-Wallace will be on the men's skiing half-pipe team, Noah Hoffman and Simi Hamilton are Nordic skiers, and Aspen native Jeremy Abbott will compete in figure skating.  CONGRATS to all these amazing athletes!

BUT LET'S RECAP A FEW OF THE many "beyond" moments at this year's XGames, and knowing that it will take place in Aspen for the next 5 years has everyone pumped! 

You could not have attended the Games on Thursday night and been untouched by Colten Moore as he sat on his snowmobile his eyes wet with tears. He clinched the most emotional gold medal in the 20-year history of the X Games, winning in Snowmobile Freestyle one year after his older brother and best friend, Caleb, crashed and suffered fatal injuries in the same event.  With 60 family members and friends cheering him on, it is a reminder that these games, and winter sports in general are something that really involves family as these athletes generally start at a young age and excel with support of parents and family. 

[+] Enlarge PhotoJoshua Duplechian/ESPN"This is the greatest moment ever, to be able to come back and ride for my brother," said Colten Moore.

Max Parrot wins 2nd gold of the week in Men's Snowboard Slopestyle. Canadian rider Max Parrot's X Games weekend began with a Snowboard Big Air win Friday night and ended with a Slopestyle win Saturday.


David Wise won his third consecutive gold medal in the men's Ski SuperPipe final Friday, the first  
three-peat in men's Ski SuperPipe since Tanner Hall's streak from 2006 to 2008.  French skier Kevin Rolland got silver, and Aspen local Alex Ferreira took bronze.  Wise, the 2013 FIS World Cup champion, will be the favorite heading into the Sochi Olympics.

Kelly Clark scored an X Games Aspen four-peat in Snowboard SuperPipe and won her 12th career X Games medal Saturday, becoming the most decorated female athlete in X Games history.  She said, "I think it's one of the best events of the year, coming here to X Games and getting to showcase our snowboarding and take women's snowboarding forward." Clark, who was the top qualifier for the U.S. Olympic women's halfpipe team, will be a gold-medal favorite at the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games.
Thirteen-year-old X Games rookie Chloe Kim won silver and that made her the youngest medalist in X Games winter event history.

Another emotional moment took place on Saturday when four-time X Games gold medalist and Aspen native Gretchen Bleiler announced her retirement and said this would be her last XGames. 

Swede Henrik Harlaut defended his GoPro Ski Big Air title Saturday performing the same nose butter triple cork 1620 that helped him win last year.  It was the highest-scoring trick of the night, but he backed it up with a switch tail butter double cork 1080 double grab for a combined score of 93.

The Big Air field is a tight-knit crowd, and Harlaut also gave props to his competitors. "Vincent Gagnier, doing the craziest stuff I've ever seen. Big ups to him," he said.  Harlaut also will be the one to beat in today's Ski Slopestyle final.

Women's Snowboard Slopestyle
Norwegian rider Silje Norendal won a gold medal with a Slopestyle win Saturday; this was an upset Jamie Anderson's attempt at an X Games Aspen three-peat.This event makes its debut in the Sochi Olympics next month.

Snowmobile Long Jump
Levi LaVallee won gold in the return of Snowmobile Long Jump at X Games on Saturday. LaVallee beat Cory Davis in the third and final elimination round with a distance of 147 feet, 5 inches, to Davis' 142 feet, 11 inches.
LaVallee was the defending champion in the event, which was last contested at X Games Aspen 2010. La Vallee said, "Since I was a little kid, I've just wanted to go as big as possible, big in front of my family or friends or whatever it was. Now we've got all these great fans out here, I'm trying to go as big as I can."  The win is LaVallee's seventh at X Games -- and his 11th medal in 10 X Games appearances -- and he'll aim for an eighth gold medal in Sunday's SnoCross final.

Saturday was a record breaker in attendance with 48,000 breaking the single-day mark.  And just think, you still have at least 5 more years of XGames in Aspen!! 



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