- Devon O'Neil, Writer, Action Sports
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ASPEN, Colo. -- Ten years removed from her first Winter X Games gold medal, Kelly Clark reminded everyone Friday night why she will go down as the greatest snowboard halfpipe rider in history.
Clark, wearing a "Celebrate Sarah" sticker on her helmet in memory of late halfpipe skier Sarah Burke, posted both of the night's highest scores (90.00 and 93.66) to defend her Snowboard SuperPipe gold medal by another wide margin. She finished 10 points ahead of silver medalist Elena Hight and 17.66 points ahead of bronze medalist (and birthday girl) Hannah Teter. Just like last year, Clark's ability to stick massive frontside 1080s separated her from the rest of the field and delivered her fourth career Winter X gold and ninth pipe medal in 13 appearances.
Clark, a three-time Olympian from Vermont, has now won 13 contests in a row. The last one she entered and failed to win was the December 2010 Winter Dew Tour at Breckenridge.
"I approach every contest, every run, every trick in that moment, one run at a time," Clark, 28, said. "I'm coming out here to achieve my goals, not to win the contest, that's just a byproduct. In my third run tonight, having the contest won, I still stepped up my run because that's what's motivating me. It's incredible. I came off the best season I've ever had last year. Honestly, I didn't expect it to keep going. I'm kind of in awe of my streak right now. But at the same time, I'm having fun and I think that's the biggest component to my success."
She's come a long way from winning the 2002 Olympic gold medal, but she's just as untouchable now as she was then. Teter, who won her sixth Winter X Games medal, high-fived Clark after the event while describing her as "a little bit intimidating. She's so powerful, she's so consistent, so on fire, all the time."
Hight, whose backside 900 and alley-oop backside rodeo helped land silver, added: "Kelly's definitely on her game. No one can deny that. It's awesome to be out there shredding with her, even learning from her, taking some of that knowledge and putting it to the test."
Gretchen Bleiler, a four-time Winter X gold medalist, had hoped to finally unseat Clark in her hometown Friday night, but she struggled with her rotations and settled for fourth (65.00). Ditto for 2010 Olympic gold medalist Torah Bright of Australia, who was returning to the Winter X Games for the first time since winning her second gold in 2009. She placed seventh out of eight women.
Check out full results from the Women's Snowboard SuperPipe finals at Winter X Games Aspen 2012.
Devon O'Neil is a freelance writer who writes for ESPN.com Action Sports.
13hMichael C. Wright