Freestyle skiing | Olivia Asselin makes X Games history

(Montreal) The knuckle huck event was included on the freestyle skiers’ program for the first time at the Aspen X Games on Saturday in Colorado. Olivia Asselin was crowned champion and at the same time wrote the history of this prestigious event.

“It was about time the event was presented for us too! » launched the Quebecer, who won the second medal of her career at the X Games after the bronze received in 2022 in the big jump (Big Air).

The knuckle huck was already presented in snowboarding since 2020 and the discipline quickly gained popularity thereafter. Athletes launch on the same track as the big jump, but only use the landing zone.

“It’s a very creative event and it opens the door to the X Games for more girls who ski more in this way. It was a great event and I feel really honored to be the first female gold medalist in the knuckle huck,” shared Olivia Asselin.

“I knew I was going to participate quite early this season, but I didn’t have much preparation. It was something I had already done for fun, without having had the opportunity to train for it. It was mostly done on site, in Aspen. I was super happy to be invited for this premiere! »

By her own admission, the skier from Lévis did not have a clearly established game plan for this event. She had well prepared a maneuver that she wanted to present and that she knew how to master. For the rest, she was going to discover what she was capable of at the knuckle huck at the same time as the spectators.

“I had landed the first jumps and now I had to try something else (to improve the score)! Not knowing what will be good or not so good brings a lot of nervousness, but I wanted to do something cool, stylish and be proud of it! » she admitted.

“I feel like it was kind of the same for everyone. We let ourselves be carried away by the atmosphere and the energy of the competition. It happened naturally. »

Olivia Asselin had never attempted the trick that propelled her to the top of the rankings on her fourth attempt. No competitor was able to dislodge her afterwards.

We didn’t really know what to expect, but we were there to do our best and in our own way. I think it turned out really well for everyone.

Olivia Asselin

In addition to her medal, the winner received a golden knuckle huck, bearing the image of the X Games, while the American Rell Harwood and Sarah Hoefflin, from Switzerland, accompanied her on this historic podium .

Sixth in acrobatic descent

The next day, Olivia Asselin took sixth place in the acrobatic descent (slopestyle). Here too, the Beijing Games Olympian had to improvise along the way. She changed her plans after finding she couldn’t generate enough speed to deliver the desired routine on her first try.

“I had planned to do the first switch jump (from behind), but I didn’t have the speed to get there and I didn’t get far enough. I had to change my entire program and present something that I hadn’t done in training,” she said.

It was on her second attempt that she achieved her best score, good for 52.00 points.

“The lack of speed had a big impact on my performance, but I feel like I handled it well in the competition. »

Frenchwoman Tess Ledeux won gold with 95.33 points, followed by Mathilde Gremaux (92.33) and Giulia Tanno (88.00), both from Switzerland.

Note that snowboarder Laurie Blouin took part in the freestyle descent on Friday and placed eighth. Initially a reserve, she concluded the weekend with a seventh place in the high jump.

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