With top challengers like Killi, Tess Ledeux (FRA) and Sarah Hoefflin (SUI) failing to put down clean second runs, it was only double X Games 2023 champion Megan Oldham of Canada who challenged Gremaud for the title. While Oldham would give Gremaud a scare, ultimately the Canadian would fall just .20 points short and Gremaud would enjoy a victory lap through the Bakuriani 2023 slopestyle course with a Swiss flag in hand.
“It was missing for me, this World Championships title,” Gremaud said after cruising into the finish area on her victory lap, “It’s so crazy, not just with the conditions we had here, but especially with the year I’ve had from last year at the Olympics to now. It was kind crazy and a big emotional rollercoaster, so this feels really, really good.
“We had a tough week here with conditions. I don’t even know if I would have been skiing if it wasn’t World Champs. It was kind of on and off and ups and downs and I just tried to stop everything and save my energy (for competition runs), and in the end I think it paid off.”
With her super smooth second run Canadian Oldham was able to bump herself up from bronze to silver medal position, lacing a switch left double cork 900 Japan to left double 1080 mute combo through the final two jumps and skiing out to a score of 87.75 and the second World Championships medal of her career after she earned slopestyle bronze two years ago in Aspen.
Third place would go to Killi after she crashed trying to up the ante in her second run. While Killi absolutely crushed the top rail section with a right slide switch-up continuing 270 off to switch left 270 on to continuing 270 off on the first two rail features, some less-difficult tricks through the jumps meant that she’d have to settle for a score of 84.71 and the bronze medal.
Killi’s bronze would not be the only hardware the Norwegian team would be walking away with on Tuesday, however, as the Freeski Landslaget would take the top two positions on the Bakuriani 2023 men’s competition as well, with current slopestyle World Cup leader Birk Ruud leading the way in a storming final-run performance.
RUUD STOMPS DRAMATIC FINAL RUN FOR GOLD
While there was a stacked final 16 on hand for finals in the men’s competition, Ruud rolled into Bakuriani as the odds-on favourite with wins in four of five World Cup competitions entered in 2022/23, and a third in the other.
However, come time for his final run Ruud found himself on the outside looking in on the podium picture. And, as the top qualifier, all eyes and all the pressure was on the 22-year-old as he dropped in on the final run to hit the Bakuriani 2023 slopestyle course at these World Championships.
Leading things off with a switch left 270 on to pretzel 450 off on the first rail and then a 450 on to continuing 450 off on the second, Ruud proceeded to go switch left double cork 1620 mute on the first jump, into a right double cork 1440 lead tail on the second jump, and then a massive, trademark left double bio 1800 mute on the money booter.
Into the launch rail Ruud put down a buttery smooth left slide to left corked 810 blunt off, and then a switch left 270 on to forward on the big blue tube, before finishing it all off with a left 450 lipslide popped out to switch on the final down rail.