Brookes run wasn’t over after the 1440, however, as she followed that up with a switch boardslide 270 tail grab out on the canon rail, before going with a half-cab into the wallride, to alley-oop 50-50 to 180 out on the big blue tube, and finally finishing things off with another mind-melter – a 50-50 to frontside 270 to frontside boardslide to regular that could have scored in the 8’s if she was being judged the men’s competition.
Add it all up and you’ve got a score of 91.38 and the youngest World Champion in FIS Snowboard history.
“I honestly feel like I’m going to cry,” an elated Brookes said from the finish area, “I have never been so happy in my life. I can’t even speak I’m that happy.”
“I was at the top of the course and my coach said, ‘If you want to win this just try the 1440.’ I tried the 1260 in practice, I came around and almost went 1440, so I knew it was possible on this jump. I tried it [the 1440] once before in Absolute Park but this is the first time I’ve stomped it so I am super happy.”
While top qualifier Sadowski-Synnott would drop in just after Brookes in the final run of the women’s competition, the 21-year-old wasn’t able to summon the kind of magic that she did at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, were she dropped in the same position and stomped a remarkable final run to claim Olympic gold.
Instead, Sadowski-Synnott would lose control in the landing of jump three and ride out of the course, skipping the final two features and reverting to her 88.78-scoring first run for the silver medal.
“Winning a medal here means a lot to me since it’s my last slopestyle competition of the season,” said Sadowski-Synnott, “And it’s sick to land my run. Of course I wanted to try and back up the World Champion title, but I did everything I could and I am so stoked for Mia. Mia is leading snowboarding competition at the moment, especially on the jumps, and pushing all of us girls to ride our best.”
Sadwoski-Synnott’s Bakuriani 2023 silver was the fifth medal of her World Championships career, putting her into a tie with Seppe Smits (BEL) for the most ever by a snowboard Park & Pipe competitor.
Bronze would go to the woman that Brookes displaced as the youngest World Champion in FIS Snowboard history, as 24-year-old Miyabi Onitsuka of Japan – winner of the Kreischberg 2015 World Championships just over eight years ago, also at the age of 16 but two months older than Brookes is now – returned to the World Championships podium for the fourth time in her career after earning a score of 83.05 for her first run.
KLEVELAND’S GUTSY SECOND RUN SECURES BACK-TO-BACK GOLDS
Over on the men’s side of things it was Marcus Kleveland of Norway showing his incredible poise under pressure and unmatched trick arsenal on his way to becoming the first man in FIS Snowboard World Championships history to earn back-to-back slopestyle gold medals.
After falling on his triple cork 1440 on the second jump in his first run, Kleveland found himself well behind the eight-ball heading into run two, with the likes of Japan’s Ryoma Kimata (JPN), Chris Corning of the USA, and Kleveland’s Norwegian countryman Mons Roisland stomping some podium-worthy runs.
Kleveland, however, will go down as one of the greatest to ever do it, and the truly great athletes in any sport are the ones that thrive when the stakes are the highest. Kleveland on Monday proved yet again that he is one of those individuals.
Leading off his gold medal run with a switch 270 on to 270 off on the first rail into a backside 360 to 50-50 to popped backside 180 off on the big tube, Kleveland then went switch frontside 1260 stalefish on jump one, before cleaning things up and stomping to bolts the frontside triple cork 1440 weddle on jump two that had tripped him up in his first run.