Kelly Sildaru

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Alex Ferreira caps X Games with repeat ski halfpipe title

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Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira repeated as X Games Aspen ski halfpipe champion, overtaking world champion Aaron Blunck on his final run to close the winter sports festival on Sunday.

Ferreira’s runs included a double flatpsin 1080 japan, left double 1440 mute and back-to-back 900s. X Games events this year were scored in a jam-session format, where riders were ranked on overall impression rather than a single best run.

Ferreira, the son of a former Argentinian pro soccer player, finished between second and fourth at the X Games from 2014-18 (missing 2017). Since PyeongChang, he overtook two-time Olympic champion David Wise at the biggest annual freeskiing and snowbaording competition.

Wise was seventh on Sunday, coming back from a fractured femur nine months ago.

Earlier, Estonian Kelly Sildaru completed a sweep of the women’s ski halfpipe and slopestyle with her fourth gold medal in the latter event. Sildaru, 17, broke her tie with Chloe Kim for most X Games golds before turning 18 and tied the record for most medals as a teen with Shaun White and skateboarder Nyjah Huston.

Sildaru landed a switch left 270, pretzel 630 and four variations of a 900. She won the Youth Olympic slopestyle title in Lausanne, Switzerland, eight days earlier.

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Kelly Sildaru completes medal trifecta at X Games

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A teenager from a country with no mountains claimed three medals in two days at the X Games in Aspen.

That’s 16-year-old Kelly Sildaru, the Estonian sensation who three years ago became the youngest winner of a winter event with her inaugural slopestyle title at age 13.

Sildaru finished second in halfpipe last night, took this morning’s slopestyle title with a score of 99 out of 100 before placing third in big air on Friday night. She is the second woman – and the first in 22 years – to win three medals at one X Games (Swedish snowboarder Jennie Waara did so in 1997). Sildaru has now made the X Games podium seven times.

Her trio of medals comes less than a year-and-a-half after she tore her left ACL, causing her to miss the Olympics, where she was pegged as a medal favorite in both slopestyle and halfpipe.

Sildaru hails from Tallinn, Estonia, a country whose tallest peak is just over 1000 feet. She followed her father, Tonis, into skiing, and travels as a trio with Tonis and her younger brother, Henry, who is also an avid freeskier. They document their travels and skiing ventures though vlogs on their YouTube channel.

Sildaru’s hectic X Games program meant a relatively rigid schedule in Aspen. Even the seemingly unstoppable Sildaru admitted she was a little weary, telling the Aspen Times, “I always really wanted to do all three disciplines, and I knew it was going to be hard but I didn’t think it was going to be this hard.”

 

 

Alex Ferreira, David Wise go 1-2 on first night of X Games

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It’s safe to say Alex Ferreira has been imagining this moment for a while.

As a child, the Aspen native used to skip school with friends to watch his favorite skiers during their practice sessions. On Thursday night, the 2018 Olympic silver medalist in ski halfpipe won his first X Games title in front of a home crowd at Buttermilk Mountain.

Ferreira looked strong from the start, posting a 90.33 on his first run. But his third run – with a dizzying sequence of double corks – was even better. Two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist David Wise finished second, and New Zealand’s Nico Porteous, the PyeongChang bronze medalist, placed third.

The depth of U.S. halfpipe talent could merit a sweep on any given day. But 2017 X Games winner Aaron Blunck was unable to execute, and Gus Kenworthy, the 2014 Olympic slopestyle silver medalist, crashed in all three runs.

In women’s ski halfpipe, reigning Olympic gold medalist Cassie Sharpe of Canada proved she’s still the one to beat: known for her fearlessness and daring approach to the pipe, Sharpe won with a difficult run and incredible amplitude, ending with a 1080.

Sharpe topped Estonian phenom Kelly Sildaru, who was the youngest winter athlete to win an X Games title three years ago in slopestyle. Sildaru is competing in a trio of events this week, going for her third slopestyle title and as well as competing in big air.

Canada’s Rachael Karker finished third in her X Games debut. The Americans missed the podium entirely, despite having a formidable field of competitors. Brita Sigourney, the PyeongChang bronze medalist, finished fourth, while 2014 Olympic gold medalist and five-time X Games winner Maddie Bowman placed fifth.