Snowboarder Danny Davis, who stated recently that winning X Games gold meant more to him than Olympic gold, came away with the medal he prizes most Sunday night when he won the Men’s Snowboard SuperPipe event at X Games Aspen 2014—in part because of who didn't compete.
The legendary Shaun White, who had won the previous six X Games SuperPipe competitions at Aspen, sat this one out to focus on training for the Sochi Winter Olympics, where he'll compete in halfpipe and slopestyle.
Davis scored a 95.00 on his second run and won the gold after qualifying for the finals for the first time in six X Games appearances. "I can't believe it," he told ESPN. "I'm going to ride this switch-method train as long as it'll last."
Here's his winning run:
Asked afterward if he still felt topping the podium at the X Games meant more than doing so at the Olympics, Davis sounded a little less convincing, saying, "Ummm, yeah. It's bittersweet when Shaun's not here. He's the one to beat, but, forget it, I'll take it."
Iouri "I-Pod" Podladtchikov of Switzerland was unable to cleanly land his YOLO flip (a sCab double cork 1440) and finished sixth. Louie Vito (93.00) and Greg Bretz (89.33) took silver and bronze to make it a clean sweep on the podium for the Americans. Like Davis, Bretz will be competing at the Sochi Olympics.
Four years ago, Davis beat White in a halfpipe Olympic qualifier and followed that up with a Dew Tour victory, but he never made it to the Vancouver Winter Olympics. He crashed a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle into a fence and suffered a fractured vertebra and broken pelvis.
He told The New York Times recently that it was "really stupid. Mostly because of, obviously, drinking and making a stupid mistake."
With momentum on his side, Davis has a chance at redemption, if he manages to stay away from ATVs.
"We're celebrating by locking Danny into his hotel room," Jack Mitrani, a good friend of Davis, told the Denver Post. "Because Sochi's right around the corner."
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