Kaitlyn Farrington surprises halfpipe world by claiming Gold in Sochi
The halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park once again was the venue for an unexpected result when the world's best ladies battled it out in a final which turned into a true nail-biting, breathtaking showdown for the title.
Olympic newcomer Kaitlyn Farrington, who didn't make it to the finals from the qualifiers but then stepped it up in the semis, took home the fame and the glory with a super creative run relegating three former Olympic Champions, Torah Bright (AUS), Kelly Clark (USA) and Hannah Teter (USA) to second, third and fourth.
The 24-year-old from Idaho who had placed fourth at the 2013 FIS Snowboard World Champs earned the high score of 91.75 with edging off Torah Bright to second with only .25 separating them; Kelly Clark took Bronze with only 1.00 behind of Farrington.
Farrington had taken over the lead in the second run of the finals with an air to fakie to switch backside 720, backside 900, alley oop 540, backside 540 and a final corked frontside 720 and then had to wait for six more riders to drop – those riders who had nailed it in the qualifiers before.
While four of them struggled and couldn't top her score, it all came down to the last two girls to drop in.
“I think watching the three gold medallists come down after me was a crazy feeling. I was happy they all landed their runs because that's what I wanted to do. But I did not expect to come down on top,” said Farrington.
Reigning champion Bright tried to keep hold on her title with a massive mc twist to air to fakie, cab 720, frontside 540, frontside alley oop, backside rodeo 720, all stylish and smooth, but had to settle for second with 91.50.
“Once I land the run I don't care. I landed the run and I watch the others and that was it. The rest I don't care about. I don't care if I win lose or draw,” explained Bright, who had already been competing in slopestyle a few days ago and will also tackle the snowboard cross course.
"It feels amazing. It feels like I just won,” she just added.
But just like yesterday at the men's comp, it was the top favourite having the last run and thus the very last chance to grab the precious Gold.
Kelly Clark, with 30 years of age the oldest finalist in the field of 12, gave in everything she had with a huge frontside air to backside 540 tail, a frontside 1080 which wasn't as sweet as it could have been and a cab 720 to frontside 540 while finishing things off with a backside air.
The four-time Olympian, who has won more snowboarding competitions than any other rider, was rewarded with 90.50 and thus her career's third Olympic medal (one Gold in 2002 and Bronze in 2010 and 2014) becoming also the most decorated freestyle snowboarder in the history of the Olympic Winter Games.
But talking about history, the newest chapter in the books was written by Farrington who became the third US-American female snowboarder to hang Olympic Gold around her neck.
“I cant really believe it right now, I'm in no-mans land. They are gold medallists and I can't believe I'm one now too,” stated the new champion.
“I couldn't be more happy. I have no idea how I did it. I had a blast out there. Both my parents are here so I'm glad I could share this moment with them.
Its definitely more special than any other podium.”
Full results can be viewed here.