Japanese snowboarder Kadono gets surprise win at Burton Open
AP National Writer
File away this name: Yuki Kadono.
His trick — make that tricks — will probably make an impression over the next few years, too.
The 18-year-old Japanese snowboarder won the Burton U.S. Open slopestyle contest Friday with back-to-back triple-cork, 1620-degree jumps that are, all of the sudden, the new gold standard in the sport.
With the next Olympics three years away, Kadono is setting the trend in slopestyle, which was added to the program for last year’s Games in Sochi. He also used a 1620-degree triple cork to win Shaun White’s Air and Style event at the Rose Bowl two weeks ago. He landed it twice on the same run Friday on a sparkling day in Vail. And he claims he hasn’t practiced it much — that the adrenaline he gains from standing at the top of the run sets him up for bigger tricks.
“I know there are other riders who are much better than me,” Kadono said. “I just had it set in my mind that I was going to win this week.”
He’ll take home $45,000 for the victory, along with a huge dose of confidence.
Among the “better” riders he beat were defending champion Mark McMorris of Canada, the Winter X Games champion who landed a triple-cork frontside 1440 for only the third time in a competition.
It was good for a score of 87.8 on his second of three runs.
Then Kadono came out with his back-to-back triple-cork 1620s. He scored 90.05, and when he reached the bottom, a bunch of competitors picked him up at the bottom of the hill and hoisted him onto their shoulders.
McMorris’ final run came next, but he couldn’t beat Kadono’s score.
“Yuki did something I thought would never be done,” McMorris said. “So props to him.”
Earlier in the women’s event, Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson defended her title with a whopping eight-point win over Austria’s Anna Gasser. Anderson is the most consistent thing this sport has going, and showed very few signs of surrendering that status.
But as the 2014-15 season comes to a close, the men’s side is more unpredictable, both from the standpoint of what the biggest tricks might be, and who will throw them.
“Everyone’s going to keep getting better and the runs are going to keep getting crazier,” McMorris said. “We’ve got to wait to find out, I guess.”
The competition concludes Saturday with men’s and women’s halfpipe finals.
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