Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kaitlyn kicks into gear with X Games silver

In the Aspen superpipe

Kaitlyn Farrington with her silver medal from Saturday’s X Games women’s pipe. Courtesy photo by Suze Locke

     Bellevue’s Kaitlyn Farrington, 21, was a Saturday night television star here in the valley and around the country when she won the silver medal in the Winter X Games women’s snowboard halfpipe.

     Her 85.66 score put Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Olympic Development Team member Farrington behind only Kelly Clark of Mt. Snow, Vermont (92.33) on the podium.

     And Clark made history in women’s snowboarding by stomping out a huge 1080 to become the first woman to land the maneuver in a competition. That pretty much assured the gold for Clark, 27, the 2002 Olympic gold halfpipe medalist whose only previous X Games superpipe victory was in 2006.

     Clark was joined on the podium—as well as in a celebratory ground tackle after her historic run—by Farrington with the silver medal and Elena Hight of South Lake Tahoe, Ca. who took bronze in the pipe.

     Farrington’s finish was “huge” for her, according to SVSEF Snowboard program director Andrew Gilbert. “It was a long time coming for her and a validation of all her hard work. She is one of the Elite girls in the world,” he said.

     “The X Games silver is a great stepping stone,” he said.

     After beating Olympic gold medalist Torah Bright at the European X Games last March, Farrington has been winning her way to the top of the Dew Tour and Grand Prix podiums. It was only fitting the Sun Valley native made her first X Games podium at Aspen.

     “I was super excited to just land my first run,” said Farrington. “I knew I could just go for it after that and do what I wanted to do with a solid run under my belt. I’m just really excited.”

     Gilbert said, “There’s a balance you have to go after in these judged events. They look for the gnarly factor, and they also look for the technical factor—people who have the big bag of tricks. Kaitlyn seems to have found the balance.

     “She has improved her amplitude. She has also been rotating in both directions and becoming more creative in linking combinations. She is maturing in the sport and has developed confidence so that she’s willing to take some risks—and she’s more creative in the risks that she takes.”

     Farrington, last year’s Dew Tour women’s snowboard superpipe champ, is aiming for the Winter Dew Tour’s Toyota Championships Feb. 10-13 at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, utah. She then heads to the Grand Prix in March at Mammoth Mountain in California.

     Other SVSEF results from the X Games included Graham Watanabe’s semi-final finish and eighth place in boardercross, and Biche Rudigoz’s 24th place in skier cross.

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