Kelly Sildaru made free-skiing history on Friday when she topped the podium in Women's Ski Slopestyle competition, becoming the youngest athlete ever to win a gold medal at Winter X Games, world's leading extreme sports competition. She is also the shortest and the lightest winner of all times.
The 13-year-old Estonian teenager scored the winning 93 points at her very first run in the X Games, ensuring a victory in front of more experienced Norwegians Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen (91.66) and Johanne Killi (85.66).
“I was really nervous before my first run,” Sildaru said after the race. She also pointed out that training in Estonia is made rather difficult by the fact that there are no mountains.
Although Sildaru is still too young to ski in World Cup contests, her talent had not gone unnoticed before. She first made a name for herself in Youtube where at just 10 years of age she showed off tricks that challenged pro athletes.
She earned an invite to the X Games for her first big victory at Dew Tour in Breckenridge, US in December, where she beat several Olympic medalists and World Champions, including both Christiansen and Killi.
Her win on Friday was the first ever X Games medal for Estonia. She was only the second Estonian athlete to take part in the Winter X Games.
"I have been watching her since she was even younger than this," silver-medalist Christiansen said at the press conference. "She just makes me a better skier and I want to push myself even harder when I see her ski."
Sildaru is coached by her father Tõnis Sildaru and trains with her younger brother Henry, 9.
Watch Kelly try her first tricks:
Editor: M. Oll