Sadowski-Synnott and McMorris Each Take Second Medal of Weekend in Jeep Women’s & Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle; Matechuk Defends Gold in Wendy’s Snow BikeCross; Kim Wins Third Consecutive Gold Medal in SoFi Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe
Day three of X Games Aspen 2019 brought an international field of athletes to the slopes of Buttermilk Mountain for five chances at X Games Gold and one for a set of Golden Knuckles from the first-ever Wendy’s Knuckle Huck. The packed schedule also included the inaugural Adaptive and Para Snow BikeCross races, along with two performances at the GEICO music stage from production duo Louis the Child and Grammy Award-winners, The Chainsmokers. By the time the gates were closed more than 43,000 people witnessed another exciting day at the world’s premier action sports competition.
After surprising the crowd with a silver medal in Big Air on Thursday, X Games rookie Zoi Sadowski-Synnott wasn’t satisfied with her debut. The 17-year-old opened the day’s competitions by adding Jeep Snowboard Slopestyle gold to her 2019 medal count, beating silver medalist Hailey Langland by nearly 20 points. Becoming the first-ever snowboard athlete from New Zealand to win gold at X Games, Sadowski-Synnott’s run included a switch backside 900 and a double backflip. Enni Rukajarvi rounded out the podium with bronze.
In the debut of Adaptive Snow BikeCross, X Games veteran Mike Schultz effortlessly took home his ninth gold medal. Competing in his fourth unique sport at X Games, Schultz finished nearly 23 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Tyler Brandenburger finished in second and Kevin Royston finished in third. Also in its inaugural year, Para Snow BikeCross saw another X Games veteran, Doug Henry, medal in his third X Games discipline. Second place finisher Will Posey took home X Games silver. Leighton Lillie finished in third place. In Wendy’s Snow BikeCross, reigning Aspen 2018 gold medalist, Cody Matechuk again bested the field for back-to-back gold. The Canadian finished more than four seconds ahead of silver medalist Jesse Kirchmeyer. Brock Hoyer took bronze.
After settling for Snowboard Slopestyle bronze in 2018, Mark McMorris stomped a nearly perfect run to return to the top of the podium. Earning his second medal of the weekend after Big Air silver, McMorris’ gold brought his medal count to 17, tying him for the second-most medals among winter X Games athletes. After a clean rail section, McMorris landed a switch backside 1260, frontside triple cork 1440 and a massive backside triple cork 1620 to knock Rene Rinnekangas out of first place. Rinnekangas earned his first X Games medal with a silver. An alternate just before competition, Mons Roisland’s first run score held up for the bronze medal.
In the first-ever Wendy’s Snowboard Knuckle Huck, Norwegian Fridtjof Saether Tischendorf lived up to his reputation for wildly creative tricks and took home the coveted Golden Knuckles. Snowboard Knuckle Huck consisted of a 20-minute jam session where riders perform their maneuvers leaving the knuckle of the feature and finish in the landing area, truly celebrating the rider’s style.
In the only Ski competition of the day, the surprise X Games Norway 2018 Ski Big Air gold medalist proved that he is a true Big Air podium threat by defending his gold against a stacked field. With a combined score of 89.00, Ruud bested Canadian Alex Beaulieu-Marchand and Brit James Woods. Marchand took the highest run score of the night with a 47.00, but it was not enough to beat Ruud. He landed a rightside double cork 1620 with two different grabs and switch leftside triple cork.
Before kicking off the fan-favorite SoFi Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe, the legendary snowboarder Kelly Clark took her final run in the X Games SuperPipe as she announced her retirement from professional snowboarding. Clark was the first woman to land a 1080 at Winter X Games in 2011 and boasts a total of 78 victories and 137 trips onto the podium over the course of her career.
Following in the footsteps of her childhood hero, Kelly Clark, teenage phenom Chloe Kim earned her third consecutive gold medal in the SoFi Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe competition. Continuing her impressive streak at X Games, Kim earned her seventh medal in seven appearances. Though Spanish rider Queralt Castellet took an early lead with an 80.00 on her first run, Chloe bested her with an 84.00 in her second run that held up. Castellet becomes the first Spanish athlete to medal at an X Games winter event. Chinese rider Cai Xuetong earned her third medal with a bronze.
X Games Aspen continues tomorrow with Jeep Men’s Ski Slopestyle, Harley-Davidson Snow Hill Climb, Monster Energy Men’s SuperPipe and Snow Bike Best Trick On the GEICO music stage, Norweigian-born producer, songwriter, DJ and multi-instrumentalist Kygo will close out the weekend. Schedules and TV listings available at XGames.com.
Danny Chi ESPN Communications, 310-500-5699 [email protected]
Grace Coryell ESPN Communications, 818-585-3696, [email protected]
Olivia Wilson ESPN Communications, 904-303-3538, [email protected]