January 25, 2014, ASPEN, Colorado (ISN) – Canada’s Maxence Parrot raised the bar in Saturday’s slopestyle final to upset compatriot and two-time defending champion Mark McMorris for the gold medal at the X Games while Spencer O’Brien took bronze in the women’s event.
All three Canadian riders are expected to be among the favorites at the Olympic Games in two weeks.
It was the second victory of the X Games for Parrot, the Big Air winner on Friday night. In last year’s slopestyle final McMorris took the gold with Parrot second.
However Parrot inserted back-to-back triple corks for the first time ever in slopestyle competition on his first run for an early lead. Then on his third run he executed for the first time an hard way backside 450 on the third rail before once again going big on the jumps to sneak past McMorris with 96.33 points.
The best score of the three runs is the final score.
”I tried the back-to-back triple corks at practice this morning but it wasn’t working,” said Parrot, from Bromont, Que. ”But I guess with the crowd and the great atmosphere here I was able to pull it off. But all the riders are doing great jumps now. I think it’s the riders who really step it up on the rails who are going to have success.”
McMorris had moved into the lead after the second run with a 96.56. Unfortunately on this third run he didn’t get enough height off the ramp for the third rail and crashed heavily.
”I whacked my side and I lost my breath,” said McMorris of Regina about the tumble. ”I lost my focus. It’s too bad because I really wanted to do stuff here.”
Sébastien Toutant of l’Assomption, Que., was seventh.
In the women’s slopestyle final, Silje Norendal of Norway won the gold medal with 96.00, Jamie Anderson of the U.S., was second at 95.66 while Sochi-bound Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay, B.C., nailed two 540 and two 720 jumps in her second run for her best score at 94.00.
It was a fourth career medal for O’Brien, the reigning world champion, in nine X Games appearances.