Canadians stay hot in World Champs halfpipe; Hudak, Dumont medal
Canadian skiers have been on a roll (12 medals, half of which are gold) at the 2011 FIS Freestyle World Championships going on this week in Park City, Utah. Their hot streak continued in the halfpipe today (Feb. 5) as Canadian skiers claimed half of the medals including both golds.
Weather threw an additional challenge at competitors as cloud cover and snow-carrying winds blowing across the pipe made landing high flying tricks even more difficult.
Adding more pressure was the fact that IOC officials were on hand to evaluate the possibility of ski halfpipe being included in the 2014 Winter Olympic schedule.
Rosalind Groenewoud secured the women’s win with a score of 44.7 in the best-of-two-run format. Joining Groenewoud on the podium was teammate Keltie Hansen with the bronze medal. Filling the gap was American Jen Hudak, who took the silver medal with a 42.1-point score, moving up from her third-place performance at the 2009 worlds.
“It feels awesome, I’m definitely a proud Canadian,” said Groenewoud, who admitted today's conditions with blowing snow and the flat light made jumping out of the pipe a little scary. “I’m super happy to win today.”
North Americans filled the women's top six as last week’s X Games winner, Canadian Sarah Burke finished fourth ahead of U.S. skiers Devin Logan and Brita Sigourney in fifth and sixth, respectively.
“I came out here, I knew the conditions were going to be tough. I just put my blinders on and focused on what I had to do,” said Hudak, who caught an edge during her first run but bounced back to take the second-best score with her second run. “I feel like there are things I could have done in my skiing that would have improved my score and my run. I missed a lot of grabs which is one of the strong points of my run usually. It was a lot of pressure as the last skier, I managed to mostly do it and I’m definitely happy with performing under the pressure.”
With a crafty pair of switch nines, Micheal Riddle took the men’s gold with a top score of 45.6 ahead of Frenchman Kevin Rolland, who was only four tenths of a point off the mark in second. Rolland is red hot right now, having won at the latest Dew Tour stop and last weekend’s X Games, he was also the defending 2009 World Champion.
“The weather was definitely a challenge, we knew that right when we arrived in training,” said Riddle, who earned a victory lap after sealing the gold with his first run. “It’s a very exciting time for our sport with the push for the Olympics, I’d like to think we put on a pretty good show today. I hope the IOC was watching and looking at the potential we have to put on a good show.”
American Simon Dumont earned the bronze medal to match his result at this year’s X Games.
"The biggest thing about today was obviously the Olympic push," said Dumont, who faced particularly strong winds."If this were any other event, I probably would have pulled out. But our big goal is to end up in the Olympics. Hopefully we proved that we are here, we’re serious and we are going to ski in a hurricane and put on a good show.”
U.S. piper David Wise just missed the podium by two tenths of a point in fourth place.
The Freestyle World Championships conclude tonight with men’s and women’s dual moguls competitions at Deer Valley.
Image by Gepa
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