Winter X Games: Recapping the Best Performances in the 2012 X Games
As 2014 and the Sochi games near, the book was just closed on another great Winter X Games as athletes pushed the limits and boundaries of their sport en route to some firsts and some great performances.
It isn't every day that you can see someone pull off a frontflip on a snowmobile or see two guys land triple-corks in a snowboard competition. It is even rarer yet to see a five-peat and a perfect score, but this X Games had it; they had it all.
Getting to see athletes in the prime of their game is something that the X Games has always had. It has always been high intensity and competitive as young stars often emerge at this games, and old ones regain their dominance.
Whatever the reason you watch, the X Games are a great preview to what we might see in Sochi. It is safe to say if the 2014 Olympics are anything like the 2012 X Games, then we all will be in for a great treat.
In case you missed it, here are the best moments from the 2012 X Games.
In Memory of Sarah Burke
It was with heavy hearts that the 2012 Winter X Games began in Aspen. Defending women's ski superpipe competitor Sarah Burke was missing from the games and unfortunately will never be able to participate at them again.
Burke, who was famous for really helping to put the superpipe on the map and who was credited with the progression of the sport, died a few weeks before the games from injuries sustained during a training run crash.
For someone who had been such a part of the X Games family, Burke was sorely missed by her fellow competitors. In order to honor her, the games were held in her memory as athletes from all disciplines wore red "Sarah" stickers on their helmets and wore "Sarah" bracelets and ribbons. Many athletes even dedicated their runs and medals to her saying, "This is for Sarah."
It was a touching celebration of life and remembrance for someone who had meant so much to her sport. Although providing a hovering cloud of sadness over the games, it was how the athletes chose to honor her that was touching and beautiful, and that won't soon be forgotten.
Colten Moore Wins Snowmobile Freestlye Competion and Tebows to Celebrate
Colten Moore, the 22-year-old freestlying snowmobile rider from Texas, came into the 2012 X Games hoping to finally taste some of the success that his older brother Caleb had already known.
Stepping out of his brother's shadow for the first time, Colt put on a show during the snowmobile freestyle competition. He put down amazing tricks and worked his way into the finals. His road to the finals wasn't exactly without problems, however, as during one of his tricks, Moore fell off of his snowmobile and fell from over 100 feet in the air. Luckily and so all watching could breathe a huge sigh of relief, Moore was able to flail enough that he landed on his back and not on his head.
Coming off the epic crash, it was somewhat surprising to see Moore actually competing in the finals. He seemed to put the injury in the back of his mind as he landed some of the monster tricks he is known for en route to his first X Games gold.
It was also after his final run that Moore took to one knee to do what so many other athletes, most recently Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, have done before him. As he got to one knee, Moore "Tebowed," a craze that has swept the athletic community everywhere. Imitating the touchdown reaction of Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow, Moore "Tebowed" after his final run netted him the freestyle gold.
Nate Holland Reclaims X Games Gold in Snowboarder X
These were Nate Holland's words before the 2012 Games. Holland, after becoming the first snowboard cross athlete to five-peat, was very disappointed when he only finished in third place last year. Holland claimed that the gold medal was simply on a one-year lease and as the tweet above says, he wanted it back.
As the final got under way, Holland was stuck in the middle of the pack. No drafting or passing zones were available, so he just continued to grind it out. The race was about halfway through when Pierre Vaultier, one of the favorites to win, got into a crash with another competitor leaving Holland the clear path to the front.
Holland used this path to ride all the way to the gold with American teammates Nick Baumgartner and Jayson Hale for a USA podium sweep. He was ecstatic in the win as he got back the gold medal he thought he never should have lost in the first place.
Bobby Brown Thrills in Ski Big Air
Breckenridge local and skiing phenom Bobby Brown once again found himself at the top of the podium in the Ski Big Air final.
Downtown Bobby Brown, as he is often referred to, put together two stellar tricks in his final run to record a total score of 88, good enough to beat his nearest competitor by four points. Brown's run was not without controversy, however, as many wanted to see a triple cork landed in the skiing portion of the competition the way it was in the snowboard big air final.
Neither Brown nor any of his competitors attempted the triple, but Brown did put together two almost perfectly executed tricks combining both the style and flair that the young 20-year-old is known for.
Kelly Clark Continues Her Dominance of the Women's Superpipe
In the midst of an amazing season, Kelly Clark once again proved her dominance as she took her second consecutive gold in the women's superpipe competition.
Clark's 2012 X Games gold came as part of a current streak in which she has now finished first in all 13 of her last competitions. She is riding the best she ever has and has the tricks that no one else in her sport has right now.
Clark, the first to land a 1080 in competition did so at last year's Winter X, has set a bar that so far no one else has been able to match the level of her tricks and the incredible air she gets on each hit. This year's competition proved that as she beat her nearest opponent, Elena Hight, by 10 points.
Mark McMorris Lands the First-Ever Triple Cork in Snowboard Big Air
It was a much anticipated Snowboard Big Air final as three of the guys were said to have a triple cork in their arsenal. One of which was Torstein Horgmo, who in last year's X Games, was the first to land a triple. It wasn't until this year however, that the first true triple-cork was landed in competition.
Mark McMorris, the 18-year-old phenom out of Canada, decided to attempt the triple cork after Horgmo began trying it with about eight minutes left in the 15-minute final. While Horgmo did eventually complete the triple, it wasn't until after McMorris stomped one of his own. The trick was nailed and got him a great score which, added to McMorris' other strong trick off the big ramp, gave him enough points for first place.
As the sport of snowboarding continues to progress and revolutionize, McMorris is just one of the guys leading the charge. It was evident a new generation of snowboarders is emerging by the fact that Horgmo, at 24, was the oldest competitor in the finals.
McMo's gold in the Big Air was the first in his 2012 X Games double gold performance, making him the first to pull off the double since Shaun White.
Heath Frisby Completes the First Ever Frontflip in Snowmobile Best Trick
When rumors went around that Heath Frisby planned to attempt a frontflip in the snowboard Best Trick competition, fans were going crazy. So much so, that Heath actually posted a video of him successfully completing the flip in a practice pit.
When the Best Trick final rolled around, Frisby was ready to go. He was set to go after good friend and fellow American Justin Hoyer, who was attempting the double backflip. The double back was first attempted by Levi Levallee but he was never able to successfully land it.
Hoyer revved up his sled to attempt the trick, but it was obvious as he began the first flip that he had under rotated. Hoyer hit the snow hard and came up grabbing his arm. The competition was stalled for a bit as Hoyer was taken off of the course to get X-rays.
It was a nervous atmosphere, and some weren't even sure that after Hoyer's fall that Frisby would still attempt his trick. Frisby on the other hand said his was a different trick and no matter Hoyer's outcome, he would still attempt it.
Attempt he did and as he flipped his sled, holding on for dear life, Frisby even somehow managed to make it look easy as he successfully landed the first ever frontflip in competition. It was an amazing moment for all in the sport as once again, the discipline involving snowmobiles continues to progress.
Casey Puckett Competes for the Final Time in Skier X
For the 39-year-old Casey Puckett, the 2012 X Games marked the end of a career of one of the most influential ski racers of all-time.
Puckett, who was long known for his alpine skiing, made the cross over to Skier X in 2007 when he won his first title at the Winter X Games. He proceeded to win two more X Games bronze medals in 2008 and again in 2011.
His final race was a bit bittersweet as Puckett was only able to finish as fifth best. Despite this, he received a great send-off to mark a great career for one of the guys who helped to put Skier X on the map.
David Wise Upsets Two-Time Champion Kevin Rolland in Ski Superpipe
David Wise came into the 2012 Ski Superpipe final with one thing in mind, and that was to win the gold medal. After two straight years of French dominance, Wise set out to un-seat the two time champion Kevin Rolland and to put the Americans back on the podium.
Wise spent his entire season dedicated to learning the double cork 1260, and the hard work paid off. He perfected it and landed it in competition on his way to winning his first ever X Games gold.
Wise, at 21 years old, was the old man on the podium as silver went to 18-year-old Canadian Noah Bowman and 16-year-old Aspen native Torin Yater-Wallace took home the bronze. Defending champion Kevin Rolland finished outside of the medals for the first time in two years.
Dominique Maltais Finally Wins First X Games Gold in Snowboarder X
For Canadian Dominique Maltais, one of the most dominant riders in the sport, winning her first Winter X Games medal was a long time coming. After years of success in just about every world level competition, Maltais had never been on an X Games podium until 2012.
The 2012 X Games was without seven-time gold medalist Lindsey Jacobellis, giving Maltais her best shot to finally land on the podium. She tactfully advanced through the early rounds and reached the final, where she utilized the long course in order to gain and maintain a lead until the end.
Her performance was certainly a great showing, but one still has to wonder if she can beat Jacobellis on the big stage.
Jamie Anderson Wins Gold, Sets Highest Final Score Ever in Snowboard Slopestyle
Jamie Anderson, who after winning gold in the 2012 women's ski slopestyle final became 6-6 in X Games podium finishes, is one of the most dominant Winter X athletes in the game. Anderson has been having a great season picking up right where she left off from last year. This year's X Games just gave her another chance to show off her skills and continue to shine.
Anderson stomped two great runs en route to her gold medal win. She was dominant throughout the whole competition and put down some great tricks she has been working on. In the final, she also laid down some great backside 540s back to back in the very difficult four-jump section. After her third run, she posted a final score of 95.33, the highest score ever in the women's slopestyle final.
Tom Wallisch Records Highest Ever Score in Ski Slopestyle and Wins Gold
Currently in the midst of an undefeated season, 24-year-old American Tom Wallisch gave the performance of a lifetime as he battled in one of the best ski slopestyle finals in recent memory.
Wallisch found himself in a shoot out all night, but it was his brilliant, creative and nearly flawless final run that gave Wallisch the edge and a record-breaking score. With his final run score of 96 even, Wallisch set a new record for highest score ever recorded in an X Games ski slopestyle round.
Shaun White Five-Peats in Snowboard Big Air and Victory Laps for a Perfect 100
You know you are a pretty big name in a sport when guys are doing your trick to get on the podium. That is exactly what superpipe competitions are like for Shaun White.
Known for his carrot top head and flamboyant—albeit better able to resist wind—pants, White continues to dominate at the sport that he single-handedly revolutionized. Already in possession of 16 Winter X medals, 11 of which are gold, White came into this year's games with the goal of becoming the first superpipe athlete and only the third ever Winter X athlete to five-peat in a single discipline.
An injury to White's ankle would keep him out of the slopestyle competition, but White was determined to ride the pipe and did so with the highest qualifying score. This put him in a great position going into the final.
In the closing event of the games, White's biggest competitor, Iouri Podlatchikov, better known as I-Pod, put up a fight as he beautifully landed White's signature trick, the Double McTwist. He was even rumored to have a trick in his bag that had never been landed before and one that could beat White.
Regardless if I-Pod had the trick or not, he didn't use it. He settled with an improvement on his first run and a final score of 93.00, which wasn't enough to beat White's 94. With the gold medal and five-peat secured, White took his victory lap. Only just like in the 2010 Olympics, when he set the highest score (a 48.6 out of a possible 50), White didn't take the victory lap with just a few straight airs. No, he took a full out run pulling out amazing, perfect tricks at every turn.
When the dust finally settled and the judges gave their scoring, White had done it. The numbers flashed up on the television and were nearly unbelievable. White became the first athlete in the superpipe to score a perfect 100 in competition.