Team USA secured a 1-2 victory in Saturday’s pre-Olympic test event on the halfpipe in Rosa Khutor. Located just outside Sochi, Russia, the Olympic halfpipe will host the top freestyle athletes in the world during the upcoming Winter Olympics in 2014. Americans Torin Yater-Wallace and Gus Kenworthy shared the podium in finishing in first and second place, respectively. The event was particularly exciting since 2014 will mark the first Winter Games to include a freestyle halfpipe event!
“I’m happy with my results,” said Yater-Wallace. “Everyone skied well considering the weather. I mean there were a few people that fell that could have put down sick runs, but that happens it’s a competition. It feels cool to be here at the Olympic venue – it’s a pretty good halfpipe – it’s long. The weather wasn’t great but hopefully next year it’s not as rainy and humid out, but you can’t change the weather. “
Torin took first place with a run that featured a big double cork 1260, left 1080, switch 720 alley-oop double flat 900, down the pipe double flat 900.
Despite the warm weather’s effect on the course the skier left with a positive impression of the facilities. Yater-Wallace explained, “It was sweet – the venue is really cool you have the aerials and moguls right next to the pipe and a big staff setting everything up I think next year will be great – if I make it.”
Gus Kenworthy finished the competition to earn a career best second place! The skier threw down a great run that included a right 720, switch 720, alley-oop flat spin 540, left 900, right 900, double flat spin 1080.
Kenworthy discussed his strong performance, saying, “I would put this up there as really happy and satisfied with my skiing. Typically I get the least results in pipe, I am better at slope and big air. I’m on cloud nine right now. I am really stoked to land on the podium especially with such good riders there with me. It was a little tricky, but the fog wasn’t too bad once you’re in the pipe the visibility is a lot better than it looks from the top or the bottom. The little bit of rain kind of sped things up a bit, so speed was good and it was soft and fun and it worked out.”
When asked about the significance of freestyle halfpipe’s debut appearance at the Olympics, Kenworthy said, ” With the Olympic attention I think that things have kind of stayed the same for us and we’ve stayed true to the core of the sport as far as our identity as athletes. There is such a huge platform for us to compete on and it provides us a lot of opportunities. The U.S. Freeskiing team is really amazing and they have really been helping out with training facilities and I think it’s working.”