Big Air: Koski takes World Championship title

In the last competition of the 2009 FIS Snowboard World Championships Gangwon, Korea, one Finnish rider proofed once again that Big Air is its home country’s domain.

Markku Koski.  Foto: fotograferen.netIn a high class final, Markku Koski grabbed Gold with 55.6 points being the third Finn to win a WCS title in this discipline after Risto Mattila (2003) and Antti Autti (2005) had done so before. Young Belgium rising star Seppe Smits won Silver (53.0) ahead of Austrian styler Stefan Gimpl (51.0) edging off Matevz Petek (SLO, 49.6), Tore Holvik (NOR, 49.1) and Petja Piiroinen (FIN, 48.9) to the fourth to sixth rank respectively. Former World Champion Mathieu Crepel from France finished seventh.

Beginning of this winter season, no one would have thought that Markku Koski would end up as Big Air World Champion as he wasn’t supposed to be in the team for this discipline at the 2009 World Championships. But after he showed some superb riding in the World Cup event staged in London October 2008, he secured his spot. However, “I wasn’t expecting much as I – at first – was kind of the replacement guy. So, I just tried to stick my tricks. This worked out pretty well. Well, I also got lucky today.” But it wasn’t just fortune which made Koski the new Big Air World Champion. “The icy kicker kind of pleased me. I like these kind of conditions” said the 2006 Olympic Bronze medallist in the halfpipe after he had sticked a Cab 1080 and a Backside Rode 900 to take home the glory.

The surprising second ranked Seppe Smits, who had only one top-3 ranking in the World Cup so far (Stockholm 2008) couldn’t believe his medal at all which also was the first ever for Belgium in the history of the FIS Snowboard World Championships: “I came here for a spot in the finals. This is just amazing. I never expected this.” However, therefore he managed the pressure on him after the 17-year-old was in second place due to a smooth Cab 1080 before heading for a Frontside 900, his final jump: “I was so nervous. But I’m stoked that I did it.”

Third ranked Stefan Gimpl was also short at words. However, he absolutely esteemed his first WCS medal. “I’m so happy because I guess this might also be my last one”, added the 29-year-old Austrian with a wink who had managed to sneak on the podium with a Frontside 900 and Cab 900. “I can’t get it because I wasn’t doing well in the first two runs. So, I’m very stoked.”

Podium der Männer.  Foto: Agence Zoom
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The new World Champion.  Copyright: fotograferen.net
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Weltmeister Aono in der Halfpipe.  Foto: fotograferen.net
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