KRASNAYA POLYANA, RUSSIA (February 16, 2013) – Canada took three medals in ski halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park here tonight with Rosalind Groenewoud leading the team with a silver, while Keltie Hansen and Mike Riddle both won bronze.
The medals came on the site that will be host to the first-ever Olympic ski halfpipe event next year when the Games come to Sochi. Despite warm temperatures and alternating rain and heavy wet snow which the verdict was that the pipe held up very well and the venue was impressive.
On the women’s side France’s Virginie Faivre took the gold at 80.8, edging Groenewoud who scored 79.0. Hansen took her first podium of the season with a score of 76.4.
Groenewoud, of Calgary, Alta., was happy to earn a medal in the Olympic pipe, but acknowledged that she has room to improve before the big show next year.
“Definitely I think that being on the podium here gives me a bit of a confidence boost going into next year to know that I can preform well in this pipe. That said, I’ve won events in pipes I’ve previously crashed, and crashed in events I’ve previously won in.
“So, I know that I need to work really hard this next year because the quality of my skiing tonight definitely wasn’t the level it has been this season and definitely is not the quality I want it to be next year. I was just losing focus in between ticks. I’m usually a person that competes a lot better then I train and this event I trained a lot better then I competed. So, I’ve got my work cut out for me,” said the 23-year-old World Champion who is known as ‘Roz G’.
For Groenewoud, the medal also confirmed her provisional early nomination to the Canadian Olympic team through the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association’s ‘Method A’ nomination process, which she is determined to use to her advantage.
“I think it will make me focus on making decisions to win the Olympics as opposed to just qualifying for the Games,” she said, adding, “Now I’m just going to work towards being really rested and performing the best possible at the Olympics.”
The bronze medals mean Hansen and Riddle are one step closer to earning their own early nomination to the Games; both need one more key result to clinch their spots.
Edmonton, Alta.’s Hansen, who was third at the 2011 World Championships, was thrilled to be on the podium again. She said, “It’s really exciting to be on the podium with Roz. We’ve both been working really hard this season. She’s been really successful and I haven’t quite been able to crack the podium yet, so I was really happy to do it here. It just really encourages me that I could really do this and go to the Olympics and be a potential for a medal.
Riddle, who had a bit of a nail-biter waiting for results after falling on his second run in the best-of-two run final, was ecstatic. He said, “Actually I was just happy to put down a run today because the conditions were tough. I was so nervous sitting there in third because I knew there were four more guys that are all amazing skiers and if any one of them put down the run I knew they were capable of it would have bumped me. So it was definitely nerve wracking.”
Americans Torin Yater Wallace and Gus Kenworthy took the top spots in the men’s field, scoring 93.8 and 90.0 to Riddle’s 88.2.
Riddle credited his wax technician with helping make his skis fast enough to get through the sticky conditions, and the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association with giving the halfpipe team the resources and support to help them land on the podium.
He was also excited about his Olympic prospects, “It’s awesome. It feels super, super great to be one finals run away from ‘Method A’ selection. I’m pretty stoked about that because hopefully it won’t be a problem, knock on wood.”
Noah Bowman of Calgary qualified 10th for the final round, but had falls on both of his runs; he landed in 10th overall with a score of 28.2.
Matt Margetts of Penticton, B.C. and Kris Atkinson of Calgary did not advance to the 12-man finals and finished in 19th and 26th position, respectively.
With the halfpipe medals, and yesterday’s mogul medals by Mikael Kingsbury and Philippe Marquis, Canada’s total medal count for the Sochi test event is five, with aerial action still to come tomorrow night.
Members of the Canadian Freestyle Team will be available after their respective events for media interviews, to schedule interviews contact CFSA Media Relations Manager Kelley Korbin at: firstname.lastname@example.org.