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Canadian Max Parrot takes first X Games gold in snowboard big air

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ASPEN, Colo. - Maxence Parrot of Bromont, Que., won X Games gold for the first time on Friday, finishing on top of the podium in the snowboard big air final.

Parrot scored 93.00 points in his best two combined runs, which included a backside triple cork 1620 and cab triple underflip to late 180. Yuki Kadono of Japan took silver with 88.00 points and Norway's Stale Sandbech finished third with 77.00.

All three medalists will face off again in Sochi, Russia when slopestyle makes its Olympic debut.

Parrot earned his berth on the Canadian Olympic team after winning his first World Cup slopestyle event in Stoneham, Que., last week.

The men's slopestyle X Games final goes Saturday afternoon, with Parrot and two other Canadians competing in the event.

Parrot placed fifth in qualifying, while Regina's Mark McMorris qualified with 92.00 just behind Torstein Horgmo of Norway at 93.33. Sebastien Toutant of l'Assomption, Que., also advanced to the final, placing seventh. All three slopestylers will compete at Sochi.

McMorris didn't compete in Friday's big air competition in order to keep his focus on slopestyle.

Earlier in the day, Kevin Hill of Vernon, B.C., was 0.222 seconds shy from a podium finish, taking fourth place in the snowboard cross final.

Nate Holland of the United States took gold in the six-man final, clocking 52.049 seconds. American Alex Tuttle was second in 52.419, and Konstantin Schad of Germany placed third at 52.445. Hill followed at 52.667.

"I was really happy with my day overall except for the final," said Hill. "Consistency is something I really want to work on leading into the Olympics."

Hill rocketed out of the start gate, even holding a brief lead at the top of the course. He appeared to be comfortably installed in third for most of the race before Schad went wide on one of the last jumps to whizz by the Canadian.

Calgary's Chris Robanske won the small final for seventh overall while Rob Fagan of Squamish, B.C., was fourth in that race for 10th overall.

In the women's snowboard cross, Carle Brenneman of Whistler, B.C., reached the final and placed fifth. Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S., was first, Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic second and Helen Olafsen of Norway third.

Brenneman fell behind early in the race and had to play catch-up the rest of the way, a tough task against an Olympic medal contender field.

Olympic champion Maelle Ricker of Squamish won the small final for seventh overall.

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