Scotty James

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Australia’s Scotty James wins men’s SuperPipe at X Games

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Australian Scotty James, the Olympic halfpipe bronze medalist last year in PyeongChang, continued to show his aptitude of amplitude in Aspen at the 2019 X Games.

In his second of three attempts in the SuperPipe, James opened with a switch backside 1080, followed by a backside 1260, a trick he was unable to complete in his first run, falling on reentry. James finished his gold-medal-winning run with a massive frontside double cork 1260 coupled with a stalefish grab.

“I came in tonight and everyone is riding so well and I didn’t expect anything,” James said from the winner’s circle. “To come out with a victory lap at the end is just a dream come true.”

The 2019 gold medal is James’ fourth SuperPipe medal at X Games. He won silver in 2018, gold in 2017 and bronze in 2016.

Japan’s Yuto Totsuka won his first X Games medal in SuperPipe, taking the silver, and the U.S.’ Danny Davis won the bronze. It was Davis’ third-career medal at X Games. He previously won back-to-back SuperPipe gold medals in 2014 and 2015.

Earlier in the day in Aspen the U.S.’ Alex Hall walked away with his first X Games gold medal in men’s ski slopestyle. Hall made his Olympic debut with Team USA at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, but finished well off the podium in South Korea in 16th. Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, the 2018 Olympic slopestyle bronze medalist, took home the X Games silver in Aspen behind Hall, while Norway’s Ferdinand Dahl got the X Games bronze.

Chloe Kim dominates first halfpipe contest of season after clinic visit

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Chloe Kim for athlete of the year? She padded the argument Saturday, winning her first contest in nine months in trademark dominant fashion, days after treatment at a medical clinic.

Kim, who in PyeongChang became the youngest Olympic female snowboard champion at age 17, had the field’s highest scores in the first two runs (90 and 92.25 points) at Copper Mountain, Colo. She still led after everyone else’s third run, allowing her a victory lap as the last rider to go in her season opener.

Fellow U.S. Olympian Maddie Mastro moved up to second place with her 85-point final run. China’s Cai Xuetong took third at an event that lacked triple Olympic medalist Kelly Clark, who has not announced whether she will compete again.

Kim, who landed a 1080 in each of her runs, said afterward that she visited a medical clinic this week for dehydration.

“I woke up, and I was like blinded because I was so dehydrated. So yeah, drink water,” she joked. “I get super dehydrated up here. I need humidifiers. I’m like filling my bathtub with water and trying to get my room as nice as possible and make it easier to breathe.”

In February 2016, Kim became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in a contest. She then landed the first back-to-back 1080s in an Olympics in PyeongChang.

“I was going to go to school this year, but decided to just compete another year, and then go to school next year, then get back into the Olympic flow,” Kim said on NBC Sports.

Last season, Kim became the first halfpipe rider to sweep the Olympics, X Games and U.S. Open in one winter. She hasn’t finished lower than second in a contest since February 2017, when she placed fourth at an Olympic test event in South Korea after spending two days in the ER with “a pretty gnarly cold.”

Kim is capable of more. She landed the first frontside double cork 1080 by a woman in October while training in Switzerland, according to the International Ski Federation.

The double cork 1080 was the must-have trick for the men leading into the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.

Kim is entered in one more contest before the end of the year, next week’s Dew Tour at Breckenridge, Colo.

Australian Olympic bronze medalist Scotty James won the men’s event Saturday with back-to-back 1260s in his final, 96.75-point run, overtaking American Toby Miller.

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MORE: Shaun White sets longest snowboard break of career

Ayumu Hirano makes history in the halfpipe, wins X Games gold

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The favorite in snowboard halfpipe for the PyeongChang Olympics? Right now, it just might be Japanese teenager Ayumu Hirano.

Hirano, the 2014 Olympic silver medalist, won gold at X Games Aspen after landing a historic run.

Already holding the lead heading into his final run, Hirano boosted a backside air nearly 20 feet out of the pipe before landing a frontside double cork 1440, cab double cork 1440, frontside double cork 1260, and backside double cork 1260.

It marked the first time that back-to-back 1440s have ever been landed in a halfpipe competition.

Hirano’s run scored a 99.0 from the judges, about as close to a perfect score as you can get when there are still other riders left to go.

Taking the silver medal was Australia’s Scotty James, who landed a frontside double cork 1260, backside double cork 1260, frontside 900, backside 360, and switch backside double cork 1260.

James’ technicality was rewarded with a 98.0 on his final run, not far off the mark set by Hirano. It continued a streak of runner-up finishes this season for James.

Next up for Hirano and James will be the PyeongChang Olympics. Both riders will be among the top favorites.

The other rider near the top of the list is two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, who withdrew from X Games after making the decision to return home and rest before the Olympics.

White recently won a qualifying event at Snowmass with a new run that scored a 100 from the judges, but that was before Hirano raised the bar with back-to-back 1440s. (White’s winning run included a frontside 1440 and back-to-back 1260s, but he did not attempt a cab 1440.)

Aside from White, the U.S. has another strong medal contender for PyeongChang in Ben Ferguson. Ferguson continued his strong season by winning X Games bronze on Sunday night. (Full results here.)

But the night was marred by an injury to Iouri Podladtchikov. The defending Olympic gold medalist from Switzerland went down after taking a hard slam on the final hit of his second run. The contest had to be delayed while medical staff attended to him.

According to a report from ESPN, Podladtchikov went to the hospital to be evaluated for a head injury after being taken off on a sled.

Podladtchikov already had to overcome one injury recently. Last March at the FIS World Championships, he suffered a torn ACL.

Earlier on Sunday, Henrik Harlaut won X Games gold in the freeski slopestyle contest. It was his second gold of the weekend, as the Swede also won the big air event on Saturday.

Norway’s Oystein Braaten and Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli rounded out the ski slopestyle podium. The top Americans were Gus Kenworthy in sixth and Nick Goepper in seventh. (Full results here.)