X Games: Mono skiing gold medalist breaks X Games record
The Aspen Times
Chris Devlin-Young is a 53-year-old X Games kid at heart.
He’s also is the oldest athlete ever to win an X Games medal.
Devlin-Young, the sit-skier from New Hampshire who has worked extensively with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, won Winter X Games gold Thursday afternoon in Mono Skier X at Buttermilk.
Devlin-Young advanced out of the four-rider semifinal heat with a victory. And he matched that with a fast start and a convincing victory in the finals of the boardercross, a side-by-side racing event.
Ravi Drugan talks about his bronze finish:
Brandon Adam of Sandpoint, Idaho, finished second
Ravi Drugan, with Oregon Adaptive Sports, staged a dramatic comeback in the finals to win bronze. He had a bobble early in the race and nearly came to a complete stop.
But he regained momentum and passed German Kevin Linder for the final medal in the adaptive sports event.
“There’s not much better than this,” Devlin-Young said as he shared a big smile in the finish area midway up Buttermilk Mountain. “I’ve raced in the world championships, I’ve raced all over. But the X Games far surpasses any other racing I do.”
He said the return of Mono Skier X to the lineup in Aspen is huge for adaptive sports.
“For us, the event is huge,” Devlin-Young said. “For adaptive skiers all over the world, this shows that they are going to have an opportunity to do the same things I do.”
He said advancement in equipment will continue to open adaptive opportunities.
Devlin-Young said he sensed early in the final run that he was out front solo.
“The sun was behind us the whole way, so I could see my own shadow. When I looked down and didn’t see any other shadows, I thought, ‘Oh yeah, taking it home.’”
Devlin-Young said participating in X Games as an adaptive athlete is important because it shows youngsters that their lives are not over after a traumatic injury.
“That’s my ulterior motive … the kids,” Devlin-Young said. “For kids, like me, laying in bed in the hospital after an accident, thinking their life is over. They think, ‘I’ll never do anything fun again. I’ll never do anything physical again.’ For them to see this in the X Games, they know their life is not over.”
Bronze medalist Drugan agreed.
“It’s great to come here and represent Oregon Adaptive Sports,” said Drugan, who lives in Bend (and Eugene), Oregon. “Around the first jump, I got a little boxed out, and I had to throw on the brakes. But I got my speed back up quick. I kept my head in the game.”
And collected bronze.
“Oregon Adaptive Sports sent a coach and ski tech with me,” said Drugan, 25. “They’ve been very supportive. I’ve been with them since I first stated (adaptive) skiing six years ago.”
Aspen sit-skier Josh Elliott raced head-to-head with winner Devlin-Young in the first semifinal Thursday.
He missed the first jump, but still managed to finish the race.
“It was a lot of fun to be here, very exciting,” Elliott said. “Right off the bat, I went down. Then I got back up and missed the jump. I knew immediately I was disqualified, but I finished anyway.”
Aspen sit-skier Josh Elliott talks about the race:
Elliott, who often is seen charging down Highland Bowl, credited Devlin-Young with his own progression in the sport.
“Chris Devlin-Young has been with the Aspen Valley Ski Club program since I first got in it,” said Elliott, 33. “He is one of the people who has progressed me in my skiing.”
Devlin-Young, for his part, became the oldest X Games medalist, surpassing a 52-year-old who medaled in adventure racing in the 1995 Summer X Games in Rhode Island.
But Devlin-Young, tongue in cheek, disputed his own age.
“Fifty-three? Oh, no. You guys got my age wrong. I’m only 12,” he said.
In qualifying events Thursday at Buttermilk, Max Schairer of Austria set the fastest pace in Men’s Snowboarder X.
Kevin Hill of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada, was the second fastest qualifier for the boardercross event.
Thursday’s runs set the seedings for the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, scheduled for 11 a.m. today.
Konstantin Schad of Germany was third in qualifying with Stian Sivertzen of Norway fourth.
Trevor Jacob was the top U.S. qualifier in seventh place. Nick Baumgartner of Iron River, Michigan, was next.
Boardercross legend Nate Holland of Sandpoint, Idaho, qualified in the No. 14 position. He’s the two-time defending Winter X gold medalist in the event. Alex Tuttle, who won silver in the event in 2014, also returns this year.
Holland, in all, has won seven Snowboarder X events in Aspen. And he finished third in his other Snowboarder X event.
Qualifying also was held in Women’s Snowboarder X on Thursday.
Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic led the qualifiers. Dominique Maltais of Canada was the second-fastest qualifier.
Michela Moioli of Italy was third with defending champion Lindsey Jacobellis of Stratton, Vermont, in the No. 4 spot.
Jacobellis has won the most Winter X gold medals of any female competitor. She has eight Winter X golds. She’s a three-time U.S. Olympian.
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