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Whistler legend Brandon Semenuk tops Red Bull Rampage

Sports briefs: No X Games for Calgary
FLYING HIGH Brandon Semenuk hits some air en route to his third Red Bull Rampage win on Oct. 25. <ParaStyle:CUTLINE\:CUTLINE Credit>Photo by Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

Whistler's Brandon Semenuk headed up an all-Canadian sweep of the Red Bull Rampage podium in Virgin, Utah on Oct. 25.

The 28-year-old scored a 92.33 on his first run, which ended up being enough to hold off defending champion Brett Rheeder's tally of 91. Tom Van Steenbergen posted an 89.66 his first time out and opted not to take his second run.

Semenuk's third win at the Rampage tied him with Kurt Sorge for the most all-time.

As well, the triumph marked a bounce back for Semenuk, who struggled at the contest in 2018. He also noted that he was still feeling impacted by the death of fellow rider Jordie Lunn, who suffered a fatal head injury while riding in Mexico on Oct. 9.

"Obviously last year didn't go very well. We had a good line, I didn't rush and I got something good down. Still nerve-racking, but I was feeling it. I don't think people realize how much Jordie did for me when I was young. He was a best friend," Semenuk told Red Bull Content Pool.

Semenuk's run was strong top to bottom, as he pulled off a backflip and an opposite 360 on the rocky Utah course.

"I wouldn't say there was any point in that run where I felt home free, but every time where I got through a bigger feature I was like, 'OK, cool, I'm getting close to this, I'm getting close to that.' And then to get that last trick and just be rolling into the finish corral is always a great feeling here," Semenuk told Red Bull Content Pool.

Rheeder, meanwhile, was in the middle of the pack after his first run, but shot up into second with his second run in increasingly windy conditions.

"I broke the ice on round one and luckily I didn't get affected by the wind. The season is over now and I am so happy to be in one piece," Rheeder told Red Bull Content Pool.

No X Games for Calgary in 2020

Calgary's bid to host an X Games festival in 2020 lost steam after Alberta's provincial government removed funding in its recently released budget.

The province's NDP government had pledged $13.5 million over three years to bring the event to town, but the newly elected United Conservative Party eliminated the funding as it slashed the trade and tourism ministry budget.

"While we support putting Calgary on the map as an international sport and tourist destination, our current fiscal situation does not allow for the funding of X Games. However, we are willing to consider future requests," provincial spokesperson Justin Brattinga told the Calgary Herald.

Proponents, including Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, are still hoping arrangements can be made to bring the X Games to town as early as 2021.

"Hosting X Games in Calgary beginning in 2021 offers all partners the time necessary to prepare to host and share our city and venues with a global audience," Tourism Calgary spokesperson Carson Ackroyd told the Herald.

"It also allows us to continue to work with key stakeholders, including the Government of Alberta to ensure the economic benefits of this significant event are realized."