Henshaw best Aussie in Dew Tour so far
12 December 2013
SNOWBOARD/FREESTYLE SKIING: Australia’s leading snowboard halfpipe and ski slopestyle athletes have been in action in the Dew Tour, an invitation event attracting some of the world’s premier athletes.
Although the event doesn't count towards World Cup points or towards Olympic qualification, Australia’s top athletes have gone into the event in Breckenridge, Colorado, with all guns blazing for several reasons.
A bronze medallist at the 2011 World Ski Slopestyle Championships, Russ Henshaw has been the best-performed Aussie so far, with two days of competition remaining.
Henshaw is in second place after the qualifying rounds, with a best run score of 89.60 putting him just behind leader Nick Goepper of the USA.
The 23-year-old from Jindabyne will now contest the final on Saturday afternoon (local time) where he will look for a podium finish in a great warm-up for his Olympic campaign.
“The course this year is epic,” Henshaw said. “The jumps are a little smaller than last year but they all ride super smooth with little to no impact on the landing. The rails are interesting as well.”
Henshaw's teammate Anna Segal was 11th in qualification, with a highest scoring run of 72.20.
Sticking with slopestyle, but swapping skis for snowboards, Australia was again represented on the Tour.
Torah Bright, a medallist in the event at this year's World Championships, didn't perform to her full potential, finishing 23rd of 25 competitors with two low scoring runs. The women's snowboard slopestyle was eventually taken out by the defending champion, USA's Jamie Anderson. On her first run she overshot the first jump, giving her a low score of 21.40 meaning she would need to lay it all on the line in the second run for a win. Anderson put together a spectactular run with difficult tricks and huge amplitude, but she pulled it off to score 96.00.
Shaun White displayed his dominance even out of the halfpipe, the top qualifer in the men's slopestyle event with 93.20. Where there were question-marks hanging over how the halfpipe superstar would go in the slopestyle event, he will go into the 16-man final as the favourite for the win.
Bright was stronger in the pipe, the discipline where she won Olympic gold in 2010. She was 6th in qualifying and will head into the final eager to give her American rivals such as Kelly Clark and Arielle Gold, a run for their money.
Bright's teammate Holly Crawford had a solid first run but crashed in the second, finishing 12th in qualifying.
Aussie teenagers Scotty James and Kent Callister were 10th and 11th respectively in the men's superpipe qualification, with US dual Olympic Champion Shaun White taking top spot. Nate Johnstone did not start.
Coach Ben Alexander described the event, consisting of 30 women and 40 men, as highly significant in terms of their season preparation.“It is a huge deal,” Alexander said.
“Essentially it is all the top American riders plus the best international riders in the world, so it is a very solid field.
“It is one of the five events that the US uses to select their Olympic team. This event is broadcasted live nationally on the NBC Network, so it is a big deal.
“It’s great to go up against the best in the world and see what everyone has got,” Alexander said.