Congratulations to Wanaka based Carl Murphy and Cardronas Christy Prior, both snowboarders, for both picking up medals at the X Games in Aspen, USA.
New Zealand claimed its first medal with Carl Murphy fighting hard for silver in the men’s adaptive snowboard cross on the 23 January.
Riders race six at a time in a format which many, including Carl Murphy, have only ever raced at the X Games exhibition races in 2011 and 2012. . To win on this course which featured jumps, berms, rollers and flat sections would be a matter of getting a fast start out of the gates and staying clear of five other riders.
During the semis the 12 man field was split between two heats of six with the Kiwi racing in heat two and looking to place within the top three in his heat in order to claim a spot in the finals.Murphy took the lead with USA’s Keith Gable and Canada’s Alex Massie right on his heels.
Checking their speed ahead of a tight corner, the three racers ended up tangled together and all three came down. Bouncing straight back up but having to hop up and over the next feature to get back on track and up to speed the race was back on but now with Gable leading, Massie in second and Murphy third and having to put the hammers down in order to qualify for finals. The Kiwi did just that and crossed the finish line safely in third place.
On to the finals and Murphy would once again face off against Gable and Massie as well as long-time rival Mike Shea from the USA.
Gable took the early lead but the Kiwi wasn’t giving up and kept up the chase right to the finish.
Gable finished first in 0:57.168 with Murphy a fraction behind in 0:57.449. Canadian Alex Massie took the bronze medal in 1:01.295.
Christy Prior claimed New Zealand’s second medal with bronze in the women’s slopestyle on the 26 January.
The first run started out well for Prior with clean moves through the rail section but she would come unstuck on the backside seven trick on the first jump.
The nerves got the better of her and Prior took a fall on the rails leading into the first jump on her second run.
A change of mind set was needed for the Kiwi.
With one last chance to nail a high score Prior once again started out strong on the rail section, landed clean and continued through the course to line up the backside 720 for the second of three jumps. This time everything came together, Christy landed her new trick and finished off with a frontside rodeo 540 on the final jump.
Her score of 89.33 would move her into third place but with a nervous wait to see if O’Brien could bump up her own third run score and claim back her podium spot. The Canadian rider couldn’t deliver, crashing out of contention and having to make do with fourth.
A big Congratulations to all the New Zealanders who have competed in the X Games, It is just awesome we are represented by a great bunch of guys and girls doing cool things and keeping New Zealand on the map and never far from the spotlight.