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Elias Ambuhl won the Jon Olsson Invitational Saturday in Ċre, Sweden, stomping a trio of triple cork 1440s in the finals to seal the win.
"It's kind of cool that you can get used to a trick that is so hard," said Ambuhl, who gave 60 percent of his $15,000 prize to Pekka Hyysalo, a Finnish freeskier recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
Ole Mustad came in second with a double cork 1260, and Andreas Hatveit's stylish double cork 1080 with an octo grab earned him third place.
Russ Henshaw became the first person to land a triple cork 1440 in competition during qualifiers earlier this week, but he couldn't land the trick in the finals and finished fourth. Alex Schlopy finished fifth, withdrawing from the finals after he injured himself attempting a triple cork 1980 on his first jump. Yes, you read that right: a 1980.
Consistency was the name of the game through the first three rounds, in which each rider had one jump and the lowest five out of 10 scorers were cut. Progression showed its face in the last round, where the best single score out of three jumps determined the winner.
|Norwegian Ole Christian Mustad, who landed a double cork 1260 mute to take second place, writes his name in the sky at JOI.|
Ambuhl, who led all riders in qualifying and jumped last in every round, nailed all three of his triples to dominate the finals. His second scored a 90, making him the contest winner even before his last jump. But it's not every day you get to session a 20-meter kicker with a soft landing, and Ambuhl took advantage of the situation to throw a triple cork 1440 mute, scoring a 95.
Mustad fell on a double cork 1440 and a double cork 1260, then landed the 1260 with a mute grab his last jump. "[I feel] really, really good," Mustad said. "I'm surprised I did that well, but it was a lot of fun."
Hatveit delivered a huge double cork 1080 octo on his first jump, and perfected the trick each time, getting the highest score on his final jump. "My strategy was just to try and stay clean," he said. "I'm stoked I'm third for sure."
|Russ Henshaw started it all with a triple cork 1440 in a JOI practice on Tuesday, but fell short in the finals.|
Henshaw tried a triple cork 1440 in the first round, but couldn't stick the landing. After Schlopy benched himself, Henshaw played it safe in the second round with a double cork 1080. On his last attempt, Henshaw went for a triple but didn't have enough speed and crashed on his back.
McRea Williams landed a switch triple rodeo 1260 in qualifiers, and was hoping to add rotations to the trick tonight, but he sat out the finals after hurting himself in warm-ups.
Olsson competed in the big air, landing a pair of switch double cork 1260s, and put on his speed suit for the dual slalom alpine challenge. The Swedish team of Axel Back and Mattias Hargin won that event, while Olsson and his brother Hans finished fourth. Ted Ligety and other racers hit the big air during practice sessions.
"The first idea I had with events was to create a venue where people could learn new tricks," an exhausted Olsson said after the awards ceremony. "Seeing those triples made me feel really good about all the work that we put in."