Estonian star Sildaru sets slopestyle scoring record en route to third X Games gold
The Aspen Times
Kelly Sildaru said she was bummed to miss last year’s Winter X Games because of a knee injury, but the 16-year-old didn’t miss a beat Friday in her return to the slopestyle course where she’s had nothing but success.
On her final morning run, the Estonian teen registered the highest slopestyle score in X Games history, 99 points out of a possible 100, and improved her streak to three-for-three on the Buttermilk slopestyle course.
“I loved my run and I loved what I did. So yeah, I’m stoked,” she said. “The first two runs I was a bit slow on the second and third jumps, so I just tried to get more speed and better grabs. But you never know what you’re going to score with your run.”
Sildaru won slopestyle in 2016 as a 13-year-old, becoming the youngest female gold medalist, and repeated in 2017. She tore her ACL last season and sat out X Games and the Olympics.
She was in first already before Friday’s final run with only American Maggie Voisin, last year’s winner, in the gate behind her. Did it feel like the best run of Sildaru’s young career?
“The score says that, so yes,” she laughed. “I’m really enjoying skiing right now.”
“It really was a bit sad last year not being here.”
After winning silver Thursday in the superpipe she was set to go for her third medal in 24 hours in big air on Friday night.
Voisin, who had an 87.66-point run on her second time down, said this year’s course is the best setup in her five trips to Aspen. She especially liked the rail section, which proved to be her downfall on her last run and attempt to improve on bronze and overtake Sildaru.
“I wouldn’t say it changed my thinking,” Voisin said of seeing Sildaru’s 99-point score, “but I was a little more hungry to move up knowing I was in third already.”
The Montana skier also was set to compete in Friday night’s big air and then was scheduled to head back to Park City to continue training for next month’s World Championships.
Swiss skier Sarah Hoefflin, who turned 18 earlier this month, had a silver-medal run on her first trip down the Buttermilk course. Hoefflin, who won Olympic slopestyle gold, was set to defend her X Games gold in the big air Friday night.
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