Gold just short at X Games |

Gold just short at X Games

Taylor Gold spins above the crowd at X Games on Thursday night. The Steamboat Springs snowboarder couldn't advance out of the event's qualification round.
Joel Reichenberger

— Taylor Gold didn’t mope.

He said it was nerve-wracking standing at the bottom of the X Games super-pipe in Aspen, a record Thursday night crowd of 16,300 fans packed around him, cheering like crazy, and the defending X Games gold medal champ, Danny Davis, rocketing down the pipe.

The TV camera was trained on him, waiting for a reaction because only one of the two — Davis or Gold — would advance from the elimination round to the night’s finals.

“He’s such a good rider,” Gold said. “I knew if he landed he would probably beat me.”

Davis did land it, paving the way for himself to eventually secure a dramatic repeat championship, and in the process, keeping Gold from the finals.

Gold didn’t mope. In fact, he ran onto the snow and met Davis after the decisive elimination round run, offering the first congratulations.

“I actually feel OK,” Gold said. “I landed my run. I landed my run twice. I can’t really be upset about that.”

Gold scored 63.00 on his first run and improved that to 74.00 on his second, but it wasn’t quite enough. He finished ninth, one spot out of the eight finals qualifying positions. Ayumu Hirano grabbed the last spot just two points ahead, with a score of 76.00.

Gold pointed to one mistake at the end of his second run. It was clean, and he was proud of that, but he ended up landing his fifth trick farther down the pipe than he would have liked.

As a result, he skipped his sixth trick. In the end, that may have made all the difference.

“They would have liked that trick, too,” he said about the intended move, a frontside double 1080. “I’m the only one doing it the way I was going to do it. If I had gotten that, I would have been in way better shape.”

The X Games has proven to be one of the events that’s bedeviled Gold in the last two seasons. He came into the competition on a four-event winning streak. Those weren’t empty wins, either. Most came against stacked fields, including many of Thursday’s riders.

A year ago, in his first trip to X Games, Gold again stumbled in the qualification run. On Thursday, it got him again, though he certainly wasn’t too down about it.

“I would have liked to have been in finals, but I felt like I rode well,” he said.

The run Davis used to knock Gold out scored at 92.00. He went down to his final chance in the finals, too, scoring a 93.66 on his final run to win the competition for the second consecutive year.

Taku Hiraoka was second with a finals score of 92.33, and Olympic gold medalist Iouri Podladtchikov was third at 89.00.

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