Thursday, January 20, 2011

Halfpipe Gold for ‘aussies’ Holly Crawford and Nathan Johnstone

The fourth title decision of the 9th FIS Snowboard World Championships in La Molina, Spain, was dominated by riders from Australia.
On a sunny, cold and windy day, Nathan Johnstone, knowing he’d be already victorious with its initially scored 26.8 points, did not risk anything in his second run, but received hard hugging from his coach and fellow Australians. The series of jumps that earned him the gold was: fs 10 indy, cab 7 lien, fs 9 indy, back 9 lien and a huge fs air. Swiss Iouri Podladtchikov, after scoring 26.2 points in the first attempt, wanted more in the second. He entered the half-pipe at high risk and started with a series of risky tricks, but unbalanced the landing of his second jump and fell hard on his chin. One could see he was in pain as he almost couldn’t talk to reporters. The bronze, by quite a gab, went to Markus Malin from Finland, one of a few who did improve in the second heat, with 24.3 points.
"I'm really happy because the truth is I was not expecting to win this. There were many good opponents and I had to show my very best if I wanted to claim gold. I haven’t expected this historic result", said Johnstone, 20. "My absence at the Olympics in Vancouver, due to a ankle injury was very hurtful, so it’s awesome to take gold with me".
It was Johnstone’s first victory in La Molina, however for Holly Crawford, it was her second triumph, repeating her 2009 victory in the World Cup, which took place here in La Molina in another pipe. The ladies podium was rounded out by Swiss Ursina Haller as runner-up and 2009 World Champion Jiayu Liu from China.
"This is the greatest success of my career", said the 26 year old. "Why are the Australians so good in the Half Pipe? Because we’re together all year, working and improving our skills. As well, we train a lot during the year, in the summer in New Zealand and in the winter in Colorado".

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