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GUS KENWORTHY AT X GAMES IN FIRST COMP AS GB SKIER

The Sochi Olympics silver medallist is competing at the prestigious Aspen X Games under the British flag for the first time since switching allegiance from the USA. NEW

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The 28-year-old will compete in both the superpipe and slopestyle events.

He has a handful of medals from X Games.

The X Games are Kenworthy’s first competition for almost a year and only the second event he has competed in since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February 2018.

Kenworthy became a GB Snowsport athlete in early December after many years competing for the USA.

He has been working with the GB Snowsport coaching and support team to enable his return to action for the invitation-only event.

Kenworthy had been considering retiring from competition after Pyeongchang, which he said had pushed his body to extremes.

“I was just destroyed.  My body was completely wrecked,” he said.

“I was kind of thinking that was going to be my last Olympics and that was maybe going to be the end of me competing and ultimately just decided I have more in the tank.”

Gus Kenworthy - Facebook

Gus Kenworthy – photo Gus Kenworthy Facebook

He says he now has a renewed energy and determination to make the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics his best.

“I am super excited to be back in X Games and especially competing as a GB Snowsport athlete,” he added.

“It makes this event feel new again and happy to put my best down and see what happens.”

Kenworthy competes in the afternoon/evening Colorado-time on Friday 24.

24 hours earlier he picked up his first X Games gold medal alongside 17-year-old Palmer Lyons from Denver in the first ever Special Olympics Unified Skiing event held at the Aspen Games.

Six Special Olympics athletes were each teamed up with an X Games pro to race down a short giant slalom course, with each team’s combined time determining the results.

Gus Kenworthy & Palmer Lyons

Gold for Kenworthy & Lyons

“I’m so glad they include skiing and I’m so grateful I was asked to be a part of it and I feel very lucky that I was partnered with Palmer,” Kenworthy said.

“This one is very special to me. It’s actually my first X Games gold, so that’s amazing. I’ve got a handful of silver and bronze, but it just feels incredible and I really got to give it up to Palmer, because it was all him.”

You can watch their final runs here.

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5-time X Games medallist James Woods is not in Aspen for the X Games this year.

The British skier is out with a knee injury.

But Kenworthy is joined by two other Brits: the Atkin sisters are both in town.

Zoe Atkin will be competing at her first X Games.

She goes in the superpipe on Saturday 25th January.

Zoe Atkin

Zoe Atkin

Atkin, who is based in Park City, Utah, made her World Cup debut in December 2018 where she finished 14th in Copper Mountain, Colorado.

It was the start of a breakthrough season for her.

In her second World Cup she finished 5th and in her third, she won gold in the halfpipe at Copper Mountain.

It was only the second time a Briton had won a World Cup halfpipe: Rowan Cheshire (2014) is the only other Brit with a victory in the event.

“I am really excited to be competing in ski halfpipe event at my first X Games Aspen, which is a dream come true” she said.

“Training under the lights in the Superpipe feels awesome.  I can’t wait to compete this coming Saturday night.  Having Izzy here at X Games–hopefully she gets to compete– is so cool!”

Izzy is Zoe’s older sister and the Pyeongchang Olympics bronze medallist in ski slopestyle.

Izzy Atkin

Izzy Atkin

She has been invited as an ‘alternate’ for both the slopestyle and big air competitions.

It means she will get a chance to compete if another athlete has to drop out.

She won the silver in slopestyle at the Aspen X Games in 2018.

“This is my 4th year at X Games Aspen, but it always feel as though it’s my first X Games,” she said.

“I am always excited to come here, and it is probably the best event of the season.

“The courses are very well built, and the organizers look after the athletes well.  Hopefully I get to compete in either ski big air or slopestyle or both.

“Having Zoe here with me at X Games is awesome. I think we are the only sisters here competing in different disciplines at the X Games”.

The X Games Aspen are underway with the British athletes in action from later on Friday 24th January (afternoon and evening Colorado time).

The Games continue until Sunday.  The full schedule can be found on the X Games website.

 

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