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Belgium's own Seppe Smits took home top honors Saturday night in the FIS World Cup Big Air in Antwerp in front of a roaring hometown crowd, beating out up-and-comers Clemens Schattschneider and Pat Burgener for the win. The real victory for the 2012 TTR Big Air champion however wasn't coming in first, it was getting the contest to Belgium in the first place.
Smits, 21, is the first legitimate pro to come out of Belgium, a flat country that has only indoor snow parks instead of mountains for its snowboarders to play on. It has never been host to a World Cup, or high-profile big air competition, and it is arguable that without Smits the local FIS organizing body would have never thought to try to throw one. Not only did he manage to talk them into it, he helped design the biggest big air ramp (39 meters, or 128 feet, high) in FIS history.
Lest anyone cry foul about national pride swinging judge opinion in Smits' favor, Billy Morgan, aka "the triple rodeo" kid, beat him in the semifinals. But it appears that Smits, who has favored flat spins (12s and the occasional 14) in the past, has added a rather solid cab double cork 12 to his trick repertoire. Watch out, world.
Results: 2102 FIS World Cup Big Air, Antwerp
1. Seppe Smits, 183.25 2. Clemens Schattschneider, 181.50 3. Pat Burgener, 180.00 4. Roope Tonteri, 178.25 5. Janne Korpi, 174.50