|Brun Kjeldaas mines gold|
by Daniel Dodd, ESPN.com
MOUNT SNOW, Vt. -- First time X Gamer Stine Brun Kjeldaas of Norway claimed the women's gold medal in the Snowboarding Superpipe with clean riding, huge aerials and a 720 thrown in for good measure Saturday during ESPN's Winter X Games. A single-day record (for both Winter X and Mount Snow) crowd of 30,000 attended Day Three of the extreme sports showcase. Fans were treated to a spectacular Superpipe competition that saw scores of technical maneuvers and some huge airs.
Brun Kjeldaas earned the top score of 85.00 on her final run of the competition. She won a silver medal in Snowboarding Halfpipe at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, yet she seemed shocked after crossing the finish line and realizing the Winter X gold medal was all hers.
"I can't believe it," said Brun Kjeldaas. "I just can't believe it."
It shouldn't be too shocking for someone who hasn't placed below third in any of her last 10 competitions. Most recently, she took first place in Halfpipe at the 1999 European Championships in Leysin, Switzerland.
Second-place finisher Barrett Christy also put together some great runs, landing a backside 540 and a backside 180 grab to pull her into second place with an 83.00.
Christy, who took the bronze medal in women's Slopestyle on Friday, couldn't help but smile when she saw Brun Kjeldaas finish her spectacular run.
"I'm so stoked," said Christy, as she hugged Brun Kjeldaas. "That is so cool!"
As is the case with most X Games events, the athletes savor the victory of a close friend or team member as much as they do their own.
But that doesn't mean they don't want to win. When Shannon Dunn, 1999 Winter X bronze medalist in the Halfpipe, chose to withdraw from the competition, the rest of the field seemed to perk up.
"I think all the girls got together and shared a bottle of champagne," said ESPN's Snowboard reporter Sal Masekela.
|Brun Kjeldaas puts on a show.|
Women's Snowboarding Superpipe results
||Stine Brun Kjeldaas