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Dakides earns silver medal at X Games
Sunday, 25 January 2004
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At Saturday's Winter X Games VIII in Aspen, Janna Meyen won the slopestyle competition, but the real story was silver medalist Tara Dakides.

Most of the time in a women's snowboarding slopestyle competition, when a competitor falls, she shouldn't expect a score higher than 65. Likewise, when a competitor drags a hand on a landing, she shouldn't expect a score higher than 75.

But most women don't throw back flips.

After sitting out last year with a knee injury, Dakides, a three-time X Games gold medal winner in the discipline, threw the aggressive trick that few men try, and it earned her a score in the upper 70s.

After falling on her first run, she slipped into the backseat and brushed her hand on the ground on the final trick - just after throwing another back flip on the previous jump.

Again, the rest of the run justified an 88 in the judges eyes, giving Dakides a stunning return to the X Games.

"I don't like watching things from the sidelines," she said afterwards with the glowing smile she is known for stretched across her face. "I'm glad to be back."

Spectators and commentators speculated that Dakides could have dethroned reigning champion Meyen with smoother runs, but just the same, Dakides was happy with the result.

Meyen's victory represents a continuation of the stranglehold the Oregon native has held on recent slopestyle and rail contests. She recently won both at The Honda Session held last weekend at Vail.

Her smooth style helped her establish a winning score of 91.00, which she out did with a 91.66 on her second run, a run which turned out to be little more than a victory lap.

Before she even went back to the top of the course for her second run, she found herself caught up in the moment of how good the first run was.

"I'm just enjoying the adrenaline rush I'm having right now," she said as she departed for the lift.

Up-and-comer Jessica Dalpiaz of Salt Lake City rounded out the podium.

White wins again

Right from the beginning the men's snowboarding slopestyle finals, it was billed as a superstar matchup against Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Danny Kass and X Games VII slopestyle gold medalist Shaun White.

And that's exactly what it turned out to be.

When it was all over, White stood on top of the podium with a virtually flawless run of 900s and clean rail slides that netted him a 96.00. Granted, the only score that he beat was his own first-run score of 95.00

"I had the backside 900 pictured in my mind and I just went for it," White said.

In the first run Kass was right on White's heels with a 92.00, and attempted to step up a couple of his tricks to get the score he needed to win.

The attempts resulted in a fall on his final trick, and that's when White's family, crowded in a small huddle at the bottom of the course, screamed out with joy.

Like Meyen, this is White's second year in a row winning the competition.

Andreas Wiig of Norway put together a first run score of 89.66 for third place, a respectable finish for the first year X Games competitor.

White and Kass will get their chance to faceoff again in the snowboard superpipe competition. Preliminary rounds begin today at 6:15 p.m.

Denver native Marc Frank Montoya had to more or less throw away his first run after two falls kept the score below 60, then had a nervous second run for a score of 83.33. He still managed a seventh place finish, however, which guarantees Montoya a berth in Winter X Games IX next year in Aspen.



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