Kelly Clark gave international snowboarding fans a sneak peek at what is in store for the upcoming Winter Olympics. The Olympic champion earned a sensational victory on the Sochi Olympic halfpipe in Rosa Khutor. Clark dominated the competition with a 88.25 after her first run to win the event.
Clark spoke about the event, saying, “It was challenging this week due to the warm weather, but the event organizers made the right call to make practice at the right time and did their best to maintain the conditions. I'm pleased with how the event went tonight for me and, realistically, moving forward this could be a similar situation next year. So I chalk it all up to experience and I am happy with my riding.”
Clark's winning run consisted of a frontside air, backside 540, frontside 1080, cab 720, frontside 540, backside air.
On the men's side, Scotty Lago captured a third place. He threw down a frontside 1080 double truck driver grab, cab 720, frontside 900 rocking air, backside 900, method to a frontside 720 during the first round . He earned a score of 83.25 which held up through the subsequent runs.
“It was my first run score that held up for me,” said Lago. “I feel guilty because it was not the best that I could do and wanted to do. It was kind of a safety run. It got me on the podium and I am happy
about that. So far the last three contests I have had podiums and I am really pleased with that, I am starting to become consistent. It feels great to ride the Olympic pipe and a visual on the pipe is real helpful. It's super bright with the lights too. They do have a little work to do with the halfpipe, it's pretty soft here, but all in all a successful event and I am happy to have ended up on the podium.”
The event marked the first World Cup event to be held on the Sochi halfpipe. Warm temperatures on the final day led to a bumpy terrain and difficult transitions. While Team USA rode extremely well during the competition, many Americans fell victim to the adverse course conditions. Greg Bretz, Elena Hight, Ellery Hollingsworth and Arielle Gold all fell during the event. Louie Vito keep on his feet and achieved some great amplitude, but just couldn't get his speed up.
Clark discussed her strategy for overcoming the course conditions, saying, “Next year a lot depends on the weather and conditions, getting the right people cutting the pipe and maintaining it will set us up for success. I look at every event I do and I know I can be in great situations and not so great situations come next year so I look for opportunity in everything. Tonight was a classic example, I had the worst practice I had since I could remember, but honestly that's what can happen next year. I look for the good in every opportunity and tonight was no exception, but I am pleased with my riding and a win at the Olympic venue.”