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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Kokomo Murase Sets New Standard of Excellence in Women's Snowboarding

Reflecting on her triumph in Colorado, Kokomo Murase says, "I have added more variation to my tricks and that's really boosted my confidence."



Kokomo Murase
Kokomo Murase (center) won the women's big air final at the Snowboarding World Cup meet in Copper Mountain, Colorado, on December 15. Japan's Mari Fukada (left) and Great Britain's Mia Brookes are also pictured. (FIS SNOWBOARD/via KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Kokomo Murase Sets New Standard of Excellence in Women's Snowboarding

Teenage snowboarder Kokomo Murase has demonstrated again and again that she loves aiming for perfection and trying the trickiest of techniques. 

During the 2023 World Cup snowboarding season, Murase has had limited opportunities to compete in her specialty event. But the Gifu Prefecture native has made the most of her opportunities to shine on the gravity-defying sport's biggest stage. She won her first big air event of the season in October in Switzerland. And then she notched another victory on Friday, December 15. 

In the season finale at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Murase established a new scoring record (197.00 points). It was a performance that the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) website proclaimed set a new standard for female big air participants.

How big a deal was it?

It was "perhaps the most emphatic victory in FIS Snowboard big air World Cup history," according to the organization's website.

On her second run in Colorado, the website reported, "Murase absolutely blew the roof off of the competition, as she dropped in, lined up for a backside spin, and almost casually threw down a trick that no woman has ever before landed (at least to public knowledge) ― a backside triple cork 1440 Weddle grab." 


This highly challenging technique involves grabbing with one's lead hand the tip of the snowboard between the bindings. For Murase, it also received acknowledgment from the judges of its incredible difficulty, and she was awarded points accordingly ― 99.75 out of a possible 100.

"I was determined to make the podium as I was competing in just two big air events [at the World Cup this season]," Murase said, according to Kyodo News. She added, "I'm really happy to have won both."

Kokomo Murase
Kokomo Murase in action in women's snowboard big air qualifying on February 14, 2022, at the Beijing Olympics. (KYODO)

Kokomo Murase: Making History in Colorado

Murase, the bronze medalist at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, demonstrated her wide range of skills in the competition in Colorado.

On her first run, Murase's stellar effort included a switch frontside triple cork 1260 Indy (this is a rotation that occurs on the vertical axis). As a result, she received a sterling score of 97.25 points.

On her final run, Murase put an exclamation point on her day with a polished performance that included "back-to-back never-been-done-in-competition tricks, as she stepped up to a switch frontside triple cork 1440 Indy, making it three landed triple corks in one competition," FIS reported.

To wrap up her three-run performance, Murase sealed the victory with 197.00 points to place ahead of compatriot Mari Fukada (174.00) and Great Britain's Mia Brookes (155.75).

Murase was pleased with the results.

"It's been a season like never before. I have added more variation to my tricks and that's really boosted my confidence," Murase was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.


Also for Japan, two-time Olympian Hiroaki Kunitake triumphed in the men's big air event, winning a World Cup event for the first time on Friday. Kunitake amassed 181.25 points, while runner-up Sam Vermaat of the Netherlands received 169.50.


Continue reading the full story, which includes news items on soccer, basketball and more, on SportsLook.

Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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