OTSUKA NEAR-FLAWLESS FOR FIRST WORLD CUP WIN IN ALMOST FOUR YEARS
On the men’s side of things there was even less question about who was the top dog on the evening, as Takeru Otsuka stomped two near-flawless runs to best his nearest competitor by almost 27 points on his way to his first World Cup victory in nearly four years.
Otsuka come out firing in a first run where all but two competitors failed to land cleanly, as the 21-year-old put down a massive frontside triple cork 1440 weddle grab for a score of 77.75.
With an easy lead after that first run, Otsuka stepped it up in his second attempt, landing bolts on a backside 1620 melon that would stand as the highest scoring jump of the evening with a 88.75, giving him a two-jump score of 166.50 and reclaiming a spot on the top step of the podium that had eluded him for so many seasons seasons.
“This is my first time on the podium in like four years,” Otsuka said after the awards ceremony, “So I’m pretty stoked to be back on the podium I guess. There was so many people here and the feeling was really good tonight.”
Behind Otsuka, most of the other men struggled to bring their A-game to the Big Air Chur on Saturday. However, that didn’t mean there wasn’t any drama, as the rest of the field battled to put together combos that would land them somewhere even in the vicinity of the winner.
Best in that regards was Otsuka’s Japanese teammate Ruki Tobita, who managed to land a stylish backside 1620 stalefish in run two and then a frontside 1260 melon in run three for a combined score of 140.00 and his fourth career World Cup podium.
Just behind Otsuka was the people’s champ of the evening, as 20-year-old Nick Puenter of the host Swiss team earned his first career World Cup podium with a huge entourage of his family and friends on hand and several times swarming the finish area in celebration.
Puenter stomped a backside triple cork 1440 weddle and a frontside double cork 1080 weddle for a two-jump score of 125.50, giving the party people on hand in Chur something special to celebrate as the festivities carried on well into the night.