- Devon O'Neil, Writer, Action Sports
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Sitting on the snow dazed by one of the most spectacular crashes in recent Winter X Games memory, Kelsey Serwa had blood running down her nose and mouth and a swollen chin. Twenty feet away, four-time Skier X champion Ophelie David dabbed her lower lip with gauze, after biting two holes through it.
Once the carnage was cleaned up and everyone proved to be OK, Serwa celebrated the first gold medal of her career Sunday -- and the dramatic end of David's dominance.
Serwa, a 21-year-old from British Columbia who often trains with the Canadian men, waited until halfway through the neck-and-neck final to pass David. Then she held on until both straightlined into the climactic kicker and soared nearly half a football field, exploding upon impact as they crossed the finish line.
"Coming into the finish, we were going way faster than before," said Serwa, whose face looked like a cheese grater had run over it. "I knew that if I didn't send it, [David and bronze medalist Fanny Smith] would and they could pass me at the line. So I just went for it and got a little battered and scraped, but I'm super pumped. I just can't believe I'm going to be standing on top of the podium at X Games. That was my only goal this season."
David, 34, still had blood on her teeth during her post-race interview and had trouble speaking due to her swollen lip. "My last chance to pass Kelsey was if I didn't brake before the last jump," she said in her French accent. "It didn't work, but it was my last option. Right now I'm not so happy. Maybe I'll be happier in an hour."
Smith, an 18-year-old Swiss racer, picked up her first career Winter X medal, while David's silver marked the sixth straight year she's medaled in Aspen.
Check full results here.
Kelsey Serwa crashed spectacularly through the finish line for Women's Skier X gold