Tara Dakides waited for her last run to finally stick a jump and take the victory away from Barrett Christy in the women’s Big Air contest at the 2001 Winter X Games at Mount Snow, Vermont.
It was ironic, because the two were jumping last and second-to-last, and both had blown their first two airs in the best-of-three format. On Christy’s final jump, she stomped her patented Barrett Roll and rode away clean to the cheering crowd. With that, it all came down to Dakides, who was sitting in the middle of the pack with two bad scores.
She rode down the jump, flipped a backside rodeo, and stuck it clean. The crowd went nuts and the scores came up quickly, sealing her victory and first Gold of the week.
She had not done so well up to this point in the X Games. She had placed a disappointing seventh in Slopestyle, then skipped out of the SuperPipe.
But the Big Air win made all the difference. “Oh my gosh,” said Dakides after winning the event. “I’m stoked. I was stressing before the last jump, and on top of it I’ve had a bad time at the Slopestyle course, so I was just like, ‘What’s going on?’ I hate waiting for the third jump to do well, but hey, I’ll take it.”
She said the key was that she needed more speed to complete her trick. “I was coming up on the knuckle for the first two jumps,” she said. “On my second jump I thought I had it, but I landed on the knuckle and bounced.”
Dakides had been laying low all week, having to compete in several different events, but said tonight there was going to be a party. “I had dinner with my family one night, and last night I stayed in when Run-DMC was playing, but I figured I better stay in. So tonight, no hold’s barred. We’re going to be celebrating!”
Christy also knew the pressure was on for her to jump into a medal spot. “I needed to stick that,” she said. “I was starting to get mad after missing the first two. Maybe I needed a little anger to get there. I was trying to remember what it was like in practice to land a jump and it was just the no-pressure feeling and what-have-you-got-to-loose attitude that got me there. All week I’ve kind of had a hard time so what did I have to loose? So I just had to huck a little harder.”
She said the first two touch-downs were only painful to the ego.
“I think Tara’s like me in the sense that we get really internally competitive with ourselves,” said Christy. “I know she knows that she can stick it and I know that I can stick it. We both just shook our heads at each other and high-fived and that was all.”
She said that the cheering crowd definitely helped pick her up during the rough week. “The crowd’s awesome. All week, even when I was sucking, the crowd was really cool. It makes you feel good to have all the kids around and cheering. Someone even had a sign for me. You don’t see that every day.”
Women’s Big Air Results
1. Tara Dakides2. Barrett Christy3. Jenna Murano4. Jessica Dalpiaz5. Leah Wagner6. Shannon Dunn7. Juanita Platz8. Dresden Howell9. Corrie Rudishauser10. Jaime Macleod