[ODDS and EVENS] Reira Iwabuchi Continues to Push the Boundaries at Winter X Games
Executing difficult techniques on her snowboard is a never-ending quest for Reira Iwabuchi. The 21-year-old won the women's big air event at the Winter X Games.
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Nobody can accuse Reira Iwabuchi of choosing a run-of-the-mill career.
Certain jobs ― certified tax accountants, for instance ― tend to be viewed as routine in every way (perhaps a bit predicable).
In Iwabuchi's case, there's nothing ordinary about her work. Defying gravity and aerial artistry are requirements. Being fearless, with boots strapped to a snowboard, helps, too.
A two-time Olympian before her 21st birthday in December 2022, Iwabuchi made history as the first female snowboarder to successfully land something known as a triple underflip frontside grab in competition. She did so at the 2023 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, on Saturday, January 28.
And what exactly is a triple underflip frontside grab?
Three backward somersaults.
For Iwabuchi, this polished maneuver on her third and final run sealed a coveted victory in the women's big air final. Iwabuchi finished with 87 points to claim the title, one point ahead of 2022 Winter X Games event champion Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. (Watch Iwabuchi's triple underflip frontside grab.)
"I was very nervous before the start," Iwabuchi told reporters in Aspen. "I still can't believe I won the gold medal. It's a dream come true."
Reira Iwabuchi's Past Big Air Results at the Winter X Games
Iwabuchi had previously earned a silver and a bronze in the event at the 2018 and 2020 Winter X Games, respectively.
After last weekend's women's big air final, Sadowski-Synnott gushed with superlatives while analyzing the participants' high level of skills during the competition.
"The level of competition tonight was absolutely insane, there hasn’t been a level like this ever," Sadowski-Synnott declared, according to Forbes. "I’m proud to be a part of it and honored to be behind Reira, because she is such an insane rider and it’s been a long time coming."
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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 Twitter ＠ed_odeven.
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