France’s Rolland wins ski superpipe gold on opening day of X Games in Aspen
France’s Kevin Rolland claimed men’s ski superpipe gold on the opening day of the Winter X Games in Aspen, fending off a strong challenge from home favourite Gus Kenworthy.
Rolland climbed from 10th to top spot, despite falling on his first two descents, after combining his signature amplitude and technical manoeuvres with clean landings for a score of 93.33 points.
American Kenworthy’s score of 92.33 from his second run was the highest until Rolland, the last skier of the third and final run, dropped into the pipe.
“I was really under pressure, but I love it,” said Rolland, halfpipe bronze medallist at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Victory earned Rolland his third gold medal in the Aspen X Games pipe, and his fifth overall.
It comes on the back of two consecutive X Games where he has had to settle for superpipe silver.
Rolland’s fellow Frenchman Benoit Valentin was the third-place finisher with a score of 90.66 points.
Elsewhere on the opening day of action, there was success for America’s Tucker Hibbert in the snowmobile snocross with a time of 16min 05.739sec.
Sweden’s Adam Renheim was second, 10.704 seconds behind, while Hibbert’s compatriot was third, 14.298 seconds back.
The home country also triumphed in the snowmobile snocross adaptive final, courtesy of Mike Schultz’s time of 4:32.944.
Rounding out an all-American top three was Paul Thacker, 53.494 off the pace, and EJ Poplawski, 57.730 behind.
The first final of the day came in the Special Olympic unified snowboarding event as Chris Klug and Henry Meece topped a podium monopolised by America.
Danny Davis and Zach Elder were second, followed by Hannah Teter and Daina Shilts in third.
Action in Aspen is set to continue tomorrow and scheduled to conclude on Sunday (January 31).