he aches and pains in the aftermath did nothing to dull Kelsey Serwa’s enthusiasm for her first ever X Games gold medal.
The 21-year-old from Kelowna crash-landed her way to victory Sunday in Aspen, Colo., ending Ophelie David’s four-year reign as the women’s ski cross champion.
Serwa—who won bronze at the X Games last year—came out of the gate in third, but midway down the course passed David and Switzerland’s Fanny Smith to take the lead for good.
She entered the last section of the race in front and launched herself off the final jump. Serwa landed awkwardly on her backside and crossed the line 33/100 of a second ahead for David, before flipping onto her front.
The result: a sore back, a bruised tailbone, a sprained thumb and a bloody nose, to name a few. Oh yes, and a gold medal.
“I just decided to go for it,” a sore but cheerful Serwa told the Capital News on Monday, while on her way to Utah for the world freestyle championships. “When I went over the final jump I tried to pull myself forward, but when I realized I couldn’t, I just relaxed and let things happen.”
And was the pain and multiple bruises worth the final outcome ?
“Absolutely,” Serwa said with a laugh. “It had been a big goal of mine this year to win at the X Games. It was unbelievable to be on top of the podium.”
Whether her injuries will keep her out of this weekend’s world championships in Deer Valley, Utah remains to be seen.
Serwa plans to do everything in her power to be ready for the start of the ski cross competition Feb. 4.
“I’m going day by day, we’ll have to see what happens,” she said. “It’s a big event, one I really don’t want to miss, so hopefully I’ll be ready.”
Serwa has won a gold and two silver medals on the World Cup circuit this season and is the overall leader in the FIS points standings.