Walker takes second mono ski cross title at X Games
ASPEN, CO - Tyler Walker (Franconia, NH) won his second straight gold medal in the mono ski cross on Sunday at the 2010 Winter X Games in Aspen. Walker has a total of three X Games gold medals.
"It's awesome. It's hard to know what to expect in this event, I happened to be good at jumping and crazy terrain, so I enjoy this event quite a bit," said Walker. "As you can see from the runs, anything can happen. It's very unpredictable. It feels great to do it again."
Unlike many of the other heats and mono ski cross competitions, Walker found himself behind the pack at the beginning of the race. Walker, who is typically used to getting the hole shot, had to strategically work his way through the jumps to the take the win.
"It was interesting. I usually get the hole shot, but this run I didn't get it. I was pretty close to the people in front," explained Walker. "The course funnels down into the first jump, it's really narrow and you have to go off the jump at an angle. I had the inside line, so everyone was drifting towards me."
Walker and Kevin Connolly (East Helena, MT), who placed third in the finals, went off the jump together. Connolly accidentally skied into Walker, forcing he and Walker to do a duet off the jump. To Walker's surprise, the landing was pretty clean, resulting in Walker moving up to the second position.
"One of the guys, Kevin Connolly, actually hit me, not intentionally, but he came in really close. We went off the jump in contact with one another, which is not something you want to have, especially when you are strapped to 50 lbs of metal," admitted Walker. "We actually landed alright, which was quite surprising to me."
After the first jump, Walker found himself trailing teammate and friend Chris Devlin-Young (Campton, NH) into the second jump. Devlin-Young took the lead, launching off the jump with Walker on his heels. Immediately after landing, Walker had to throw his mono ski sideways in order to miss hitting the fallen Devlin-Young. Walker was able to quickly get up and ski around his teammate to take the lead.
Gregory Peck (Wasilla, AK) put forth a solid effort in hopes of catching Walker. However, Walker had his eyes on the finish line and was too fast, clinching his second straight gold medal at the X Games.
"This event is really big for adaptive skiing because it gets a huge amount of exposure. People really seem to enjoy watching our event," said Walker. "It gives us a lot of recognition. It's pretty cool."
Walker plans to spend the month of February in Aspen, training and free skiing in preparation for World Cup Finals, which are held in Aspen this year, and the Paralympics in Vancouver.
January 31, 2010
Mono Ski Cross
1. Tyler Walker, Franconia, NH
2. Gregory Peck, Wasilla, AK
3. Kevin Connolly, East Helena, MT
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