Cassie Sharpe was awesome at the X Games in Oslo on Sunday, Feb. 28, winning gold in the women's ski superpipe competition.
It was just her second X Games appearance following an impressive fourth place finish in Aspen in her X Games debut earlier this year.
The 23-year-old Comox Valley phenom led after her first run with a score of 86.00 but topped that with an 88.33 on her second run. She left no doubt of who would be on the middle step at the podium by posting an 87.33 on her third and final run.
Sharpe's high score of 88.33 held off Olympic champion and four-time X Games gold medallist, Maddie Bowman (USA) for the victory. Bowman scored 85.33 for silver and Japan’s Ayana Onozuka grabbed bronze with 83.66.
The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association notes it is the first X Games held in Oslo and the first time that the event has been held in Europe since 2013.
“I’m on cloud nine right now. I came here knowing that I had a chance to medal, but I never thought I could end up on top with the likes of Maddie Bowman,” said Sharpe. “I’m so overjoyed and happy. It’s a really crazy moment. When I was growing up, the X Games was the dream and the biggest event you could go to before the Olympic Games added our sport. I’m just so happy to be here and to be able to perform in front of such a huge crowd.”
Sharpe completely dominated the field with three clean runs that impressed the judges and earned her the highest scores of the competition. Her lowest score of 86.00, achieved on her first run, would have been enough to give her the title.
Her head coach, Trennon Paynter, had worked on a game plan with Sharpe so that she could perform her biggest runs each time. At the X Games in Aspen earlier this year, Sharpe didn’t go as big on her first run and it ended up costing her with a fourth-place finish.
“I took Trennon’s advice to go for it on all three runs and it really paid off,” said Sharpe. “He told me I could have made the podium in Aspen if I had done that, so I listened to my coach. My first run went so well and was really clean. It took some pressure off. After that I was revved up and ready for more. For my second run I just went even bigger and even cleaner. I went too big in my last run and ran out of pipe, which is why my score was a little lower. I’m just over the moon with how it all went.”
Sharpe is the first Canadian woman to win X Games superpipe gold since Roz Groenewoud won double gold in 2012 by winning the titles in Aspen and Tignes. She joins a short, but impressive list of Canadian women who have won superpipe gold at the X Games, including Sarah Burke who won four titles in Aspen and one in Tignes.
“I grew up watching the X Games as a kid and seeing Sarah (Burke) dominate the pipe. To come here and do the same thing is surreal,” said Sharpe. “Those girls are definitely pioneers for my sport and what I do. I couldn’t be happier to represent Canada the way that they did. This is definitely a nice confidence booster. I couldn't be happier to follow in their footsteps.”
Sharpe and the rest of the halfpipe team will look to prepare for their next event of the season, a FIS World Cup in Tignes, France, scheduled for March 9-10.
With a file from the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association.