Zurek, Burke post wins for Team Canada at X Games Global Championship
The pressure was on for the handful of athletes selected to represent their countries and regions at the X Games Global Championships last weekend, and a pair of Canadian women, snowboarder Natasza Zurek and skier Sarah Burke, rose to the challenge. Maelle Ricker of Whistler also did well, placing fifth.
The Canadian men also did pretty well, with Justin Lamoureux placing fifth among the snowboarders and Philippe Belanger taking second among skiers.
While Team Canada may have finished fourth among the six regions represented at the X Games, the Canadians proved we could still dominate on snow.
Japan also sent a message of its own with snowboarder Junko Asazuma of Team Asia finishing second in the womens superpipe and skier Shoya Okazaki taking the mens superpipe.
Team USA was also impressive, and was a contender in every event. Without a few missed landings, they could easily have been on top.
For complete results in all the X Games events, including the summer events held in San Antonio, Texas, visit www.expn.com.
Womens Snowboard Superpipe
In her practice runs prior to the womens superpipe event on Friday, May 16, Vancouvers Natasza Zurek kept it low-key, giving up the limelight to Kelly Clark and Gretchen Bleiler of Team USA, and Torah Bright and Holly Crawford of Australia.
Once the competition started, with hundreds of fans lining the course, television cameras following their every move, and plenty of time up in the gates to get butterflies, the pressure was on.
Although ESPN called it a shocker, nobody who has been following Zureks career was surprised when the 25-year-old, riding first, immediately set the bar high for the other competitors in the steep pipe.
She landed a couple of huge straight airs with solid grabs, a 540, and finished off with an inverted 540 crippler to end up with a score of 93.0. None of the other 12 competitors would come close to this score over their two runs, except for Zurek, who scored a 95.3 on her next attempt to take the win. Her second run was similar to the first with a little more height on her jumps and a 720 crippler in the bottom of the pipe that was easily the trick of the day.
"It was a pretty fun pipe," said Zurek. "The crowd was helping, they were really doing it for me."
Zurek also commented that it was hard to see, with flat light conditions and fog rolling in during the competition.