Maddie Bowman finishes fifth in X Games women’s ski superpipe |

Maddie Bowman finishes fifth in X Games women’s ski superpipe

Maddie Bowman launches out of the superpipe at the Winter X Games in Aspen in February 2016.
Jeremy Wallace / Aspen Times file photo

ASPEN, Colo. — During Wednesday’s introductory press conference, X Games Aspen host Jack Mitrani mentioned to Cassie Sharpe that she had won pretty much everything there is to win — including Olympic gold last winter in South Korea — but had never won at Buttermilk.

It didn’t look like her luck was going to change Thursday in the women’s ski superpipe contest, especially with Estonian teen Kelly Sildaru executing flawless run after flawless run.

Then, Sharpe delivered when she had to.

“I knew I had to be perfect. If I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t going to beat Kelly,” Sharpe said. “She beat me in Copper and I knew that she could have beat me here again today. This medal is so important to me. This is a bucket list thing. X Games Aspen is just such a prestigious event. I knew I wanted it.”

Sharpe scored 94 on her third and final run to win her first X Games gold medal in Aspen. It was her third X Games medal overall, having won bronze last winter and having won gold in Norway in 2016.

She needed every bit of that 94 to knock off Sildaru, who finished second with 92.33, scored on her first run. Sildaru also had runs of 89 and 90.66 in what was her first X Games halfpipe contest. She’s already won gold twice in Aspen, in 2016 and 2017, but in slopestyle.

“This is my fourth time here and I hit the podium last year, but I wasn’t really proud of my riding,” Sharpe said. “I was frustrated that my riding wasn’t what I wanted it to be. So to come out and do it now, it was super important to me. I feel like I came really prepared and knew what I wanted. I’m just glad it all came together.”

Taking third Thursday was Rachael Karker, who, like Sharpe, is Canadian. Karker has recently emerged onto the scene, having won Dew Tour last month. She scored 86.33 on her second run for her X Games bronze, while Brita Sigourney was fourth (84.66) and Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman, a five-time X Games gold medalist in the event, was fifth.

“Honestly, I was a little chapped to lose to Kelly at Copper, but I was really hyped to lose to Rachael at Dew Tour,” Sharpe said. “I’m so proud of her. She’s just blossomed into an incredible, aggressive rider the last few months.”

While the halfpipe is Sharpe’s only event, it was only the first of three for Sildaru. She’s also scheduled to compete in the women’s ski big air and slopestyle events Friday.

“I’m pretty stoked about my run and I’m really happy to be here,” Sildaru said. “I think three events in 27 hours, so it’s pretty crazy and the schedule is really tight.”

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