Billings' Cardwell Relishes Experience as X Games Medalist - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Billings' Cardwell Relishes Experience as X Games Medalist

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At first, Austin Cardwell didn't believe he had actually been invited to the X Games.

"I got invited on New Years Eve by a lady over Facebook, her name is Mickey Keller," said Cardwell.

The 2013 West High graduate was coming off his first championship in the Great American Pro Motorcycle Hill Climb, and has begun to make a name for himself in the sport. So much so, he was selected to be a part of the first ever field in the X Games snow hillclimb.

"They wanted four people from the east coast, and four from the west coast with all V-twin motors, and luckily enough I was able to have one that was a pretty good running bike," said Cardwell.

So Cardwell and his family hooked up the trailer from Octane Addictions, and headed to Aspen, Colorado. And as he arrived, there was definitely a little adjustment to seeing what he was up against.

"The jumps were a lot bigger, the hills were a lot steeper, and it was just really cool to experience that stuff and see it first hand," said Cardwell.

But Austin wasn't there to sight see, he was there to race. The hillclimb wasn't scheduled until the final event, so they didn't tear up the super pipe for other athletes, but at qualifying on Saturday night, right out of the gates Austin took the number one seed with the fastest time trial.

"Going up the hill as a hill climber sometimes you can tell that was a great run, and you know you have it," said Cardwell." And that was just one of those runs."

Unfortunately, a tough run in the semifinals ended Austin's dream of bringing home the gold. But it may have actually motivated him more to make sure he didn't come away empty handed.

"Coming out with a third, I mean just having the medal was an amazing and awesome experience," said Cardwell. "I just couldn't ask for anything better."

As for next year's Games, Austin says not only does he expect to be back, but he expects to come home with the gold. 

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