Kaitlyn Farrington led a dominant American snowboarding team in the women’s halfpipe competition this afternoon, scoring her first-ever gold medal.
The much-maligned halfpipe course felled nearly a half-dozen riders in the finals. Snowboarder after snowboarder fell as they landed their tricks or dragged their hands along the bottom of the pipe to steady themselves.
Despite the difficulties on the pipe, Team USA claimed most of the top spots in the competition, with Farrington winning gold, fellow American Kelly Clark winning bronze and Hannah Teter just missing a medal and placing fourth in the competition.
Australian boarder and defending champion Torah Bright won the silver medal.
Farrington was one of the only riders to have two clean runs in the first and second round of the finals, landing technical tricks including a switchback and wrong-way air fakey in the first round that got her a score of 85.75, and an alley-oop 540 and backside 900 that earned her the winning score of 91.75.
Clarke, the favorite going into the competition, staged a major comeback after falling early in her first run and landing in last place going into the second round of tricks.
Clarke was the last boarder to go down the mountain, launching a run that included an enormous frontside air, a backside 540, and a frontside 1080 grab. Clarke’s second run earned her a 90.75, enough to bump teammate Hannah Teter from third place into fourth and allow Clarke to win the bronze medal.
Hannah Teter hung onto third place with her first-run score of 90.50 until she was bumped at the very last second by Clarke. Teter put down a two 900 and two 720s during her initial run.