Spencer O’Brien – WSC 2012

by The Good Life on February 20, 2012

in Nike, Snowboarding, The Good Stuff

It seem I have written about Spencer quite a few times this year, but well, to be honest, she deserves every word written about her.  She is such a good example for young riders coming up, fellow riders who want to see how to deal with pressure, and is an amazing role model for girls starting snowboarding.

Yesterday was finals here in Oslo, well we just left actually on a 6am flight, with my credit card in 1 piece, but severely damaged.  So I just wanted to write down kind of behind the scenes of what actually went down for spencer.

You might have probably seen Spencers runs on the webcast yesterday, and how with her back against the wall she came out swinging on her last run and put it down flawlessly.  However there is such a back story to it, really it deserves telling.  So earlier in the week I posted the video about her slamming in practice the day before semis, and struggling to even walk down and get to the hotel, and having physio for a few hours a day, stretching, looking after herself, and getting good enough to come through semis.

Well yesterday was finals and so we headed there at 8am on the bus.  We get off the bus to be greeted by the sight of the landings shinning in the sun.  Litterally glistening, which upon closer inspection showed that infact the landings where sheet ice.  They had been groomed the day before, then it rained, and then it froze, and then girls had to ride.  Smooth.

So we went up for some practice runs, and riding along the side of the course was seriously scary enough, let along hitting the jumps.  Spencer had a couple mellow runs then started trying back 5s and switch back 5s and slammed on her 3rd run of the day, and again we all, including her, were wondering if she could ride as doing up her bindings looked a mission on its own.  But being tough as nails, she cruised a couple more runs, and then waited at the top for the contest to start.

First run, sketched one of the first jumps, as seriously the ice was so hard to deal with, second run, something similar, by which point Jamie Anderson had put down an insane run, with a switch backside 5 which was a beautiful thing.  She is amazing, and so consistent and stylish, she is doing good things for snowboarding.  So also by this point consider this, Spencer did 5 practice runs, 2 contest runs and to this point I think she only got through the course once, and that was straight airs, so she was up against it.

So we’re at the top, Spencer is getting ready, to drop something like 6th in the order.  Then she decides on switching out goggles.  “wheres my lenses?” “yep in my bag” “ok i need to switch” so I give her new lenses, and she is shaking so much she pulls the goggle apart and cant put it back together.   Watching that and the pressure to perform was something I could never handle as a rider and there is only a few for sure who can.  My greatest contest result was 4th at the indoor British Champs, with the jiggaflip taking me there.   Back to the story, So then give it the bro knuckles and head down the side of the course, and set up for a picture by the second jump.  She drops in, the crowd making loads of noise, and look up, yep, a good front board, then boardslide, into the first jump, backside 5 onto the ice, everyone holds there breath, she lands good and rides mach 10 to the next jump, Booooom switch backside 5, and stomps, so by this point I am up and riding down the side again, next rail feature, stomps clean, and shes onto the last jump, charging, and I see her point it, and pop off her toes and send a frontside 7 huge.  I was round the landing at that point trying to see whether she landed, and then I hear a huge eruption from the crowd and spencer riding away hands in the air.

Seriously this next part was the most goosebump thing ever, like I get down give her a hug, and then just like on like flights watching stupid movies, i feel a tear coming, (probably because of the 1 hour of sleep I think), and i look over and see a couple of other guys who work with Spencer, and they also have welled up.   Then the score comes in, and the whole place goes crazy as she has the new highest score, which turns out to be the highest score of the day, meaning she is the slopestyle, World Champion.  Insane.  Such an amazing feeling for her, and actually a great feeling to see someone put in hard work, dedication, and come out winning.

I also have to give huge props to Jan Schroder from TCP Physioterapy who was on hand with me all week, looking after the riders, and normally was on hill for 12 hours a day, with his table there ready to fix up the team.  He is a good bloke, and you know what, after his work this week, he will be one of the next men of the goodlife.  Thank you sir.

So heres the video of Spencer, and the boys in the pipe.

Congrats Spencer, you rule, and i think I speak for everyone when I say that.



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