At the Olympic winter games on Tuesday, North America swept the podium in the final of the ladies slopestyle skiing event. Sochi 2014 is the first Olympic Winter games to feature the Slopestyle skiing event, and it was two Canadians and an American that dominated the podium in the events first Olympic appearance.
The Slopestyle event features a series of jumps that athletes use to elevate and perform tricks. They are judged based on the difficulty of their tricks, and how much air they get off of the jumps. Canada had several medal hopefuls in this event, but many of their hopes were broken before the finals.
Whistler, B.C. native, Yuki Tsubota, crashed on the landing of one of her jumps in the final, which took her out of medal contention. Tsubota bounced viciously down the hill, all the way to the bottom. The Sochi medical crew took Tsubota off of the course in a stretcher. She was taken to a nearby hospital and it is likely that she suffered a broken jaw. There have been no signs that Tsubota suffered a concussion.
Another Canadian whose Olympic run came to a disappointing end was medal favorite, Kaya Turski. Coming off of a torn ACL in August, Turski recovered quickly and went on to win her event at the X games this year. The 25-year-old was looking forward to performing on the grandest of stages in Sochi.
Turski came into Sochi suffering from a virus that she claimed made her feel exhausted throughout the week. In her first qualifying run she fell trying to land one of her jumps and landed on her shoulder. The impact dislocated her shoulder. Turski finished her run and popped her shoulder back into place. She continued on to her second run, only to fall on her third jump. Turski, who was a favorite to earn a medal at Sochi, did not qualify for the final.
Despite all the crashes and disappointment, North America did still sweep the first ever Ladies slopestyle skiing event at the Olympic Winter Games. Canada’s Kim Larre also stumbled and fell in her first run of the finals, but she recovered and was able to put up a solid score of 85.00. She would hold on and take the bronze medal for Canada.
American Devin Logan finished just ahead of Lamarre, with a score 85.40. Logan, who turns 21 in less than a week, is looking forward to celebrating her Olympic silver medal in Las Vegas after the games in Sochi are finished.
The gold medal in Ladies Slopestyle went to Canada’s Dara Howell. Howell had the undisputed best run of the day, and many competitors even said it was the best run they had ever seen. Howell finished with a score of 94.20, nearly nine full points ahead of the second place, Logan.
Both Howell and Lamarre stated that they were skiing for former Canadian Teammate, Sarah Burke. Burke played a huge role in influencing the International Olympic Committee to allow events such as slopestyle skiing into the Olympics. Burke was killed in a training accident in Utah, in 2012. Howell and Lamarre both said that they felt Burke’s presence during their final runs.
While the first ever Olympic ladies Slopestyle event saw an overabundance of falls and injuries, it was three North Americans that rose above the competition to sweep the podium at the Winter Games in Sochi.
By Eric Kummel