Today we witnessed history.
With a massive time crunch on our hands due to high winds and limited light, we saw an absolute pressure cooker of a contest with Emil Johansson doing the seemingly impossible, pulling off the perfect season.
It is easy to forget that Emil was battling with auto immune disease not long ago with his future as a professional athlete in serious doubt. Today, we saw him not only be the winningest Slopestyle rider in history, but also pull off an undefeated season and win the Crankworx FMB Slopestyle World Championships.
“I don’t even know where to begin, going into last year I was looking to do the perfect season. Fully determined to do it, I kind of felt very, I don’t know it’s like this goal that’s too big to grasp in a way and this year hasn’t been any easier than any prior years. I was lucky going into this event that I felt healthy going into the week. You just can’t jinx it like I busted my shoulder this morning, the AC joint, so I was just not riding much leading up to the contest, and I wasn’t really sure on what level I would be able to perform at. So, I decided to play it as safe as I possibly could and still place well and realizing pretty soon when the contest started that it might be a one run contest, I really just wanted to make it down the hill. I made it down and I don’t know, I just try to pinch myself but it hasn’t really sunk in yet and I don’t know if it will.”
When asked about the energy from the crowd of approximately 38,000 people in the Boneyard of Whistler Mountain Bike Park, here is what he had to say about it:
“It’s incomparable. This event is unlike any one, and this year with the lift not being here, all the people that you see from the top were actually here to watch and it’s so crazy. I don’t even know how many people watched it today but yeah it’s probably as close to being like a gladiator as we get to be as a Slopestyle athlete. You raise your hand, and the crowd is cheering and it’s an experience that very few get to see and feel and I feel very fortunate that I’m among the mix and get to be on the stage.”
Not to be overshadowed by this feat, we saw Tom Isted with his second podium of this absolutely breakout season for the Brit. With his all-out approach to contest Tom said “I seem to land on the podium every time I land a run, if I don’t I am nowhere near” it will be amazing to see Tom build on this amazing season and surely come into next year swinging.
On the second step we saw a newcomer to the podium, which is mind-blowing considering the intense one-run format at the biggest event of the year, Red Bull joyride. Paul Couderc put down the run of his life with rotations both ways, and 2 double flips including one on the gnarly final step-down feature.
When we asked Paul about his run, he couldn’t even remember any of it describing is as being completely in the flow state.
“It was such a hard day for everyone so we all try to play safe but send it at the same time because we knew we could end up just having one run. So, I just decide to trust in myself and go full send even if I have just one run. Everything worked and that’s why!”
Red Bull Joyride Results:
- Emil Johansson (SWE) – 92.4
- Paul Couderc (FRA) – 87
- Tom Isted (GBR) – 83.8