Jamie Anderson wins 7th Winter X Games slopestyle title, ties Shaun White

Jamie Anderson
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Jamie Anderson tied Shaun White for second on the Winter X Games medals list, earning her 18th overall and her seventh gold in snowboard slopestyle in Aspen, Colo., as athletes from four different continents won titles on Friday.

Anderson, the 2014 and 2018 Olympic slopestyle champion, beat a field that included 2019 X Games champion Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand, who placed second on Friday, and 2018 Olympic big air champion Anna Gasser of Austria.

In a jam-session format where riders were ranked on overall impression, but not given individual scores, Anderson led the standings after her first of four runs and was never displaced. Anderson’s final run was a victory lap, right after Sadowski-Synnott bumped Canadian Laurie Blouin down to bronze.

“Honestly, I’m speechless,” Anderson said. “Zoi’s last run was flawless.”

Anderson competed minutes after seeing U.S. Olympic teammate Hailey Langland dislocate an elbow in a practice crash, which knocked her out of the competition. The start was delayed by about 15 minutes.

Only Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris owns more Winter X Games medals than Anderson, who has made the podium in all 14 of her slopestyle starts in Aspen dating to her debut at age 15. Anderson also competed in snowboard cross at X Games as early as age 13.

Anderson also broke her tie with Kelly Clark for second-most Winter X Games golds in Aspen for a woman. Lindsey Jacobellis holds the female record of 10 golds, though her event, snowboard cross, was last on the program in 2016.

“I don’t really know when I’m going to retire,” Anderson, 30, said. “I kind of thought, maybe this will be my last year. I don’t know. But, one day at a time.”

Later Friday, 17-year-old Eileen Gu became the first Chinese athlete to win an X Games title, taking the women’s ski halfpipe. Gu, born in San Francisco to an American father and Chinese mother, landed two 900s to relegate 2018 Olympic champion Cassie Sharpe of Canada to silver.

New Zealand’s Nico Porteous took the men’s ski halfpipe with back-to-back 1620s. Porteous, 19, ended a U.S. streak of four consecutive titles in the event among Aaron BlunckAlex Ferreira and David Wise.

Swiss Mathilde Gremaud landed a switch double cork 1440 and won her second title in three years in ski big air, which makes its Olympic debut in Beijing next year.

Gremaud, the Olympic ski slopestyle silver medalist in 2018, beat a field that lacked 2020 X Games champion Frenchwoman Tess Ledeux, who skipped X Games, citing “really painful times” for her family.

Kelly Sildaru, a four-time X Games ski slopestyle champion, was on the start list but did not compete due to a left knee injury, according to the host broadcast.

The X Games continue Saturday, highlighted by Chloe Kim in snowboard halfpipe.

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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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