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Clark Opens New Chapter With X Games Gold
Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT) opened up a new chapter for women's snowboarding Saturday night, stomping out a huge 1080 to become the first woman to land the maneuver in a competition, and earning her the gold in the Winter X Games halfpipe.
"It's been an incredible night. To have a victory lap like that and an opportunity to try a trick I've been working on for a long time and to set it down here at the X Games, it's a great night," Clark said.
Clark was joined on the podium – as well as in a celebratory ground tackle after her historic run – by Kaitlyn Farrington (Sun Valley, ID) with the silver and Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, CA) who took bronze.
Clark, who hasn't won an X Games gold since 2006, set the tone for the night, landing a solid run one to put her in a first place position that she would carry the remainder of the competition. But everyone in the crowd was waiting for something other than a win – her much anticipated 1080 that she had landed in practice earlier in the week.
After an unsuccessful try in run two, she dropped into a victory lap for run three, and on her third hit she aired out a moment that will go down in the history books of her sport's progression.
"I've been working on it for a long time and it's just amazing to be part of a sport that's progressing, and to do that . I hope it does a lot for women's snowboarding," Clark said.
After beating Olympic gold medalist Torah Bright at the European X Games last March, Farrington has been on fire winning her way to the tops of Dew Tour and Grand Prix podiums. And so it was only fitting that the Sun Valley native make her way onto her first X Games podium in Aspen with a silver finish.
"I was super excited to just land my first run," said Farrington. "I knew that I could just go for it after that and do what I wanted to do with a solid run under my belt. I am just really excited."
Following a tough spill in the pre-competition practice Saturday night, Hight managed to pick herself up, wrap the elbow that was giving her trouble and put down a solid run for the second X Games bronze medal of her career.
"I always come out to here to have fun and it's just good to do this in front of this crowd," said Hight.
Now it's on to Utah for the riders for a stop at the Dew Tour, before wrapping up the season at the Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain in March.
2011 Winter X Games
Aspen, CO – Jan. 26, 2011
1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 92.33
2. Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, ID, 85.66
3. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 80.00
6. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 27.