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Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter X-Games: Day 1 Highlights

 By Andrew Sachs

Snowmobile Freestyle 

Levi LaVallee snatched the first gold medal of the Winter X-Games 2013 by winning the Snowmobile Freestyle event.  LaVellee avoided the brutal crashes that took out some of his toughest rivals to grab gold.  His score of 89 beat out Joe Parsons, who scored 88.66, and Justin Hoyer, who managed an 84.   

The finals started out with a bang when Caleb Moore, last year’s bronze medalist, under rotated an indy air backflip and as a result, his snowmobile landed on top of him.  Moore was motionless for a few minutes before he came to. 

LaVallee seized the opening in the finals created by the crashes and mechanical failures to launch solid combinations, including a huge kiss-of-death flip, and grab winter-X gold.  He will also compete this weekend in GoPro Best Trick Freestyle, SnoCross, and Speed & Style. 

Snowboard SuperPipe

Shaun White faces an uphill battle to claim his 9th X games superpipe gold medal after qualifying for the finals second behind swiss boarder Iouri Podladtchikov, or I-Pod.  I-Pod’s first place qualification on Thursday means that he gets to ride last in the finals, a coveted spot that sets up an opportunity to dethrone the Flying Tomato.

White qualified second despite a huge run that included a 19-plus foot backside air that was almost 3 feet higher than any other boarders’ tricks.  He also stomped out frontside and cab double cork 1080s, but didn’t fire up any of his best tricks that landed him gold last year, choosing to save them for the finals instead of engaging in a battle for first place of the prelims. 

I-Pod also has tricks up his sleeve.  He plans to unveil a mystery trick in the finals Sunday night that he says no one has ever tried on snow before.  If I-Pod does manage to dethrone White, it will be the first time anyone has beaten him in a three-year period spanning 12 contests.