Herman wins historic first Olympic slopestyle qualifier


U.S. Freeskiing’s Keri Herman (Breckenridge, Colo.) placed a check mark on history Friday with an FIS World Cup slopestyle skiing victory during the first 2014 Olympic Winter Games qualifying event.

Slopestyle and halfpipe skiing will make their debut at the 2014 Olympic program in Sochi, Russia.

“This feels amazing and almost surreal,” said Herman. “It hasn’t quite clicked in yet because I am so far away from home. It’s been a great week in Argentina and I had some time to figure out what I needed to do to win and I did it.”

An X Games silver medalist, Herman won by a decisive six-point margin to mark her first podium since 2011. Her winning run included a clean double kink rail, frontside 270, switch cork 720 bro-kang grab, switch 540, 360 safety grab, to a cork 540 mute grab.

“It’s exciting to be a part of the first Olympic qualifying event and this just inspires me to train harder and stay on the right path towards the Olympics,” said Herman. “This really boosts my confidence and it feels so good to be here.

“I’ve been really impressed with the Argentinian people; they have been
so supportive and psyched on freesking and it’s cool to see them get so
into it.”

Switzerland’s Eveline Bhend took second and Canadian Dara Howell came in third.

The top American male was McRae Williams (Salt Lake City) in eighth with Great Britain’s James Woods taking the win.

The Olympic qualifying period provides individual athletes with opportunity to achieve required international ranking in order to be eligible for Olympic selection and helps the USA earn the maximum nation’s quota spots.

The next chance for athletes to qualify will be at the VISA U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colo. in January. -GM

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