Spencer O'Brien wins bronze at Winter X Games
Courtenay snowboarder Spencer O'Brien tuned up for the Winter Olympics by winning the bronze medal in slopestyle at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado on Jan. 25.
Carle Brenneman of Comox made the finals and placed fifth in the snowboarder X event on Jan. 24 with a time of 0:54.199. Winner Lindsey Jacobellis took gold in 0:52.503.
Brenneman fell behind early in the race and had to play catch-up the rest of the way, a tough task against an Olympic medal contender field.
Brenneman place ninth in the same event at the 2012 X Games.
In the women’s slopestyle final, Silje Norendal of Norway won the gold medal with 96.00, Jamie Anderson of the U.S., was second at 95.66 while Sochi-bound O’Brien nailed two 540 and two 720 jumps in her second run for her best score at 94.00.
It was a fourth career medal for O’Brien, the reigning world champion, in nine X Games appearances. She is expected to be among the favourites in two weeks in Russia when slopestyle makes it Olympics debut.
Considered to be one of the world’s most progressive slopestyle snowboarders, O’Brien has competed primarily on the World Snowboard Tour, the world’s largest series of freestyle snowboarding events, which has made her a four-time Winter X Games medalist and 2012 World Snowboarding Champion.
In 2013 Spencer won gold at the FIS World Championships, helping her qualify for the Olympics.
Despite her best efforts, Brenneman is not a member of the 24-person Canadian team heading to Sochi. Canada Snowboard announced the final 19 selections to the team on Jan. 21.
Canada Snowboard earned the maximum of 24 quota spots for the Olympics and each discipline received six. This means a full team will be heading to Sochi aiming for medal success.
The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place from Feb. 7-23. The Canadian Olympic Team has set a goal to contend to be the top nation in overall medals won.
Meanwhile, Sochi-bound Canadian skiers and snowboarders have one more reason to reach for Olympic and Paralympic podiums thanks to a $100,000 endowment offered by the Canadian Ski Council (CSC).
As part of its Making Winter Winners program, the Canadian Ski Council will be awarding $100,000 in funding to Canadian snow sports athletes who medal at the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The funds will be divided among athletes who win gold, silver or bronze medals in sports designated as Canadian Snowsports Association (CSA) disciplines. These sports include alpine, cross-country, and freestyle skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, and nordic combined.