Kaitlyn Farrington takes Women’s Olympic Halfpipe gold, Torah Bright & Kelly Clark take silver, bronze
In what turned out to be a nail-biter of a halfpipe final, American rider Kaitlyn Farrington showed up to throw down, leading a field of snowboarders that included gold medalists from the past three Olympics, Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter and Torah Bright.
Farrington, who has proved a podium mainstay all season long, and even beat Clark in a US Olympic qualifier in Mammoth, didn’t make it through to finals from qualifiers, but dominated semifinals; a prelude to her gold medal performance in the final. Despite rough pipe conditions that had many of the women sliding out and butt checking, Farrington put down two impressively stylish runs, rising above any issues to put on a gold medal worthy performance.
As first runs kicked off, Kaitlyn Farrington topped the field, stomping her run to earn an 85.75. Following Farrington, French rider Sophie Rodriguez rallied after slipping out on a false start to lay out a smooth run and take over second place. Rodriguez was soon removed from the top 3, however, as Hannah Teter dropped in with a smooth 9, and capped off her run with a solid 1080 for a 90.5 and the lead. The three riders left to take their runs after Teter, heavy hitters Queralt Castellet, Kelly Clark and Torah Bright, all took uncharacteristic spills, leaving them to battle for podium spots with their second runs.
Second runs began with Rana Okada, who bounced back from her first-run digger to step into 3rd place. Farrington stepped up for round 2, laid out a pristine run and bumped up her score to a 91.75, ultimately the highest score of the night. A few incomplete runs later, Teter, making her third Olympic appearance, couldn’t step up in her second run to overtake Farrington, going down on her second hit and forced to rely on her first score. The last two women left to drop — the two most likely to upset the reigning top three — were Torah Bright and Kelly Clark. Bright, coming hot off of a gold medal in Vancouver at the 2010 Games, went huge, and put down an impressively smooth run to overtake Teter and Okada and snap up second place.
As Bright, Teter and Farrington sat at bottom awaiting their fate, snowboarding’s winningest rider of all-time, veteran Olympian Kelly Clark, stepped up to the pipe. Clark’s run was imbued with the massive airs we have become accustomed to seeing from her, but when all was said and done, shaky landings and incomplete grabs left something to be desired. Nonetheless, Clark’s amplitude won out and earned her the bronze medal, the third addition to Clark’s impressive Olympic medal collection.
1. Kaitlyn Farrington: 91.75
2. Torah Bright: 91.50
3. Kelly Clark: 90.75
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