ASPEN, Colorado – Many of Nick Goepper's greatest moments as a slopestyle skier have come in the X Games. But this was not one of them.
The 23-year-old from Lawrenceburg, Indiana, looks like he has his work cut out for him in order to repeat as an Olympic medal winner next month in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Goepper finished seventh among eight finalists in an international field of the world’s best slopestyle skiers Sunday in the final big tuneup for the Olympics.
Goepper, the bronze-medal winner at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, made just one competitive run in his three.
Goepper saved his best score (86.33) for last, but it wasn't nearly good enough for a top-three finish. By comparison, the three skiers who made the podium had two runs better than Goepper’s best. And the top six had at least one score in the 90s.
WATCH Goepper's final run:
— X Games (@XGames) January 28, 2018
In his first two runs (60.00 and 16.66), Goepper didn’t look at all like the kid who won three straight X Games gold medals from 2013-2015 or took the silver in 2012. Nor did he look like the 2017 Goepper who finished second.
Goepper revealed last week that he struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression after the 2014 Olympics.
But he demonstrated in Friday's qualifying that he still has what it takes when he finished third with a best of 92.33. He would have tied for the silver medal if he could have duplicated that score Sunday.
— Nick Goepper (@NickGoepper) January 27, 2018
Henrik Harlaut of Sweden took first Sunday with a best run of 93.00, followed by Norway's Oystein Braaten (92.33), last year's slopestyle gold medalist, and Switzerland's Andri Ragettli (92.00).
American Gus Kenworthy, the Olympic silver-medal winner in 2014, was sixth with a best run of 90.00.