Canadians Dominate in Snowboardcross at X Games

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(ISN) – ASPEN, Colorado – Kevin Hill of Vernon, B.C., grabbed the lead on the first turn and waved good-bye to the competition to win the gold medal in the men’s snowboard cross on Friday at the X Games, the main event for extreme sports.

”X-Games was at the top of my list to win, and to take the gold here means the world to me,” Hill said. ”It’s been my number one goal for a long time.”

It was the second major success in a week for Hill. He won the snowboard cross silver medal last Friday at the FIS World Snowboard Championships.

Hill was with the pack for only about 15 seconds when he pulled ahead for good as he soared off the second jump. Omar Visintin of Italy was second and Nate Holland of U.S., third in the six-man final.

”It was the best feeling ever to be able to get an early lead and take the race from start to finish,” he said. ”I’ve never felt so fast and confident on my snowboard.”

The excitement lasted longer in the women’s race. Lindsay Jacobellis of the U.S. was the winner with Dominique Maltais of Petite-Rivière-St-François, Que., second and Nelly Moenne Loccoz of France third.

Maltais, a two-time Olympic medallist, bounced around between first, second and third before Jacobellis took control about three quarters down the course.

”I had a really good start but I got stuck in traffic,” said Maltais. ”I stuck to my line and stayed aggressive throughout the run. Closer to the end I think Lindsay drafted me a little bit which allowed her to pass me. I tried to pass her but ran out of time.”

In the adaptive snowboard X for riders with a disability, Alex Massie of Barrie, Ont., won the bronze medal and Paralympian John Leslie of Arnprior, Ont., was fourth. In speaking to a reporter on site Massie exclaimed “It’s like winning the Super Bowl, but better because I’m on my snowboard!.”

Olympic bronze medallist Mark McMorris of Regina was the top qualifier in the slopestyle heats while Sebastien Toutant of Montreal ranked fourth. The final is on Sunday.

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