Jamie Anderson

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Max Parrot wins X Games snowboard big air, one year after cancer diagnosis

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Canadian Max Parrot won the biggest annual contest in big air snowboarding, 13 months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Parrot captured the X Games Aspen big air title on Saturday night, his sixth career gold medal in Colorado. But his first since Dec. 21, 2018, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma.

“Just to be out here, one year later since I wasn’t here last year, that’s already amazing,” Parrot, who announced July 25 that he beat cancer after 12 rounds of chemotherapy, said on ESPN.

Parrot, an Olympic slopestyle silver medalist, landed a cab triple cork 1620, backside 1620, frontside triple 1620 and a cab 1800, according to broadcasters. He relegated countryman Mark McMorris to silver.

X Games events this year are scored in a jam-session format, where riders are ranked on overall impression rather than a single best run.

McMorris tied Shaun White‘s record of 18 Winter X Games medals across all sites, including in Europe. Parrot also won his comeback event at X Games Norway on Aug. 31.

Later Saturday, the U.S. was shut out of the women’s halfpipe medals for the first time since the X Games moved to Aspen in 2002.

Spain’s Queralt Castellet ended the Americans’ 10-year run of gold medals that included Kelly Clark (now retired) and Chloe Kim (taking the year off to study at Princeton). Maddie Mastro, who beat Kim at the 2019 season-ending Burton U.S. Open, failed to land her signature double crippler and finished eighth. She was the only American in the field.

Two nights earlier, the U.S. failed to earn a men’s halfpipe medal for the first time at an Aspen X Games.

Earlier Saturday, two-time Olympic slopestyle champion Jamie Anderson won her sixth X Games Aspen title, one year after missing the slopestyle event after taking a hard fall in big air. Anderson has earned an X Games medal in all 13 of her slopestyle appearances dating to 2006, when she debuted at 15.

In other Saturday events, Canadian Darcy Sharpe won men’s snowboard slopestyle, while U.S. Olympic champion Red Gerard was third for his first X Games medal.

American Colby Stevenson won a ski slopestyle final that lacked Gus Kenworthy, who was seventh in qualifying. Estonian Kelly Sildaru added a ski halfpipe crown to her three slopestyle titles.

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U.S. snowboarders shut out of X Games Aspen halfpipe medals for first time

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The first two Winter X Games events came and went without an American medalist, a historic opening to the 24th annual event in Aspen, Colo., on Thursday.

Australian Scotty James won the men’s halfpipe for a third time, extending his winning streak to 10 contests since the start of the 2018-19 season.

James, the Olympic bronze medalist, landed a switch backside double 1260, cab 1080, frontside 900 grabbing nose and a double backside 1260 (video here). He was followed by Yuto Totsuka of Japan and Jan Scherrer of Switzerland. Scores were not posted on the broadcast. Rather, a new, 30-minute jam session format had judges ranking riders fluidly.

Though the U.S. had five in the eight-man final, none made the halfpipe podium for the first time at an Aspen X Games. The event has been held there since 2002.

Records before that are hard to find, but it’s possible it’s the first time in X Games history (since 1997) anywhere in the United States that an American man did not make a halfpipe podium.

Shaun White, an eight-time X Games halfpipe champion, last won in 2013 and announced after PyeongChang that he was taking a break from snowboarding.

White announced a bid last summer to make the first Olympic skateboarding team, but it’s unknown if he’s still pursuing that after finishing 13th at the world championships in September, trailing the Americans favored to make the team. More of his social media posts in recent weeks have been snowboarding related.

Later Thursday, Japanese swept the women’s big air podium: Miyabi Onitsuka, Kokomo Murase and Reira Iwabuchi. Olympic champions Jamie Anderson of the U.S. and Anna Gasser of Austria finished seventh and eighth in the eight-woman field, each falling on most of their runs.

Gasser, who in November 2018 became the first woman to land a triple cork, tried four triple underflips and fell each time.

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Tonya Harding in tears on Dancing with the Stars; Olympic gold medalist eliminated

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A tearful Tonya Harding said, “I don’t want to fail again,” while training for “Dancing with the Stars.” The disgraced figure skater didn’t, squeaking into the second week of the four-week season on Monday night.

Harding was the last of eight athletes to advance, while the Olympic champion snowboarder Jamie Anderson and retired baseball player Johnny Damon were eliminated (video here) on the premiere episode.

“It was the scariest moment I think I’ve been in in a really long time,” the 47-year-old Harding, who was banned from figure skating for life in 1994 after withholding knowledge of the attack on Nancy Kerrigansaid afterward to “Entertainment Tonight.”

Six of the 10 contestants on the all-athletes season of the show are Olympians — Harding, Anderson, figure skaters Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu, luger Chris Mazdzer and retired softball pitcher Jennie Finch.

Rippon and NFL cornerback Josh Norman tied for the highest score Monday with 24 out of a possible 30 points from three judges. Nagasu and Harding each scored 23. Mazdzer and Finch were next with 21 each.

DANCE VIDEOS: Anderson | Finch | Harding | Mazdzer | Nagasu | Rippon

“I need a Diet Coke, and I need more peanut M&Ms,” Rippon told E!.

At the end of the two-hour show, it was announced that two out of Harding, Anderson and Damon would be eliminated.

“I was like, no, lord please, don’t let this be the last dance,” Harding said to E!. “I’m finally learning how to be a lady and learning how to dance and I haven’t lost my last five pounds yet.”

Harding said she “felt like a princess.”

“I got banned in 1994 from skating, but nobody can tell me I can’t dance,” she said in a previously recorded training montage.

Anderson, the only female Olympic snowboarder with multiple gold medals, said she was “scared” and “intimidated” for her first dance. She scored 19 points, good for eighth place, just ahead of Damon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Rippon, Harding and Nagasu look to become the third figure skater to win the Mirror Ball Trophy after Kristi Yamaguchi and Meryl Davis.

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MORE: Full list of Olympians to appear on ‘Dancing with the Stars’