News

Farrington joins halfpipe gold medal club

Farrington joins halfpipe gold medal club

GOT HER GOLD: Kaitlyn Farrington nailed her second run under the Extreme Park lights for a score of 91.75 to beat Australian defending champion Torah Bright by 0.25 of a point.

By Nick Mulvenney

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) – American cowgirl Kaitlyn Farrington stunned three former champions to win gold in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe by the narrowest of margins at the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old nailed her second run under the Extreme Park lights for a score of 91.75 to beat Australian defending champion Torah Bright by 0.25 of a point.

Farrington, who needed to run in both heats to reach the final, could barely contain her disbelief and watched nervously as the final six riders completed their runs before she could celebrate her first gold medal at a major event.

PHOTOS: 12 hot reasons to watch the Sochi Games | COMPLETE COVERAGE: 2014 Winter Olympics

“I was hoping just to make the final, and then after the semi-finals I was riding well and I thought if I could just land my run I might be in the medals,” she said.

“Watching the three gold medalists come down after me was a crazy feeling. I was happy the other medalists all landed their runs because that’s what I wanted to do, but I did not expect to come out on top.

“I can’t really believe it right now … they are gold medalists and I can’t believe I’m one now too.”

American Kelly Clark, the 2002 champion, was awarded 90.75 for the final run of the night to take the bronze and become the first snowboarder to win three Olympic medals after also finishing third in Vancouver.

“I’m just so proud of Kaitlyn, this is her first Olympics so to see her come out and walk away Olympic champion is just amazing,” said 30-year-old Clark, who was competing in her fourth Games.

Hannah Teter, who won gold in 2006 and silver in 2010, led after the first run but fell on her second attempt and had to be satisfied with fourth place after compatriot Clark bumped her off the podium.

Bright was, as usual, all smiles and congratulations for her rivals, but might consider herself unlucky not to have scored higher than 91.50 with a clean second run, which had a higher degree of difficulty than Farrington’s routine.

“These judged sports it’s just so hard,” she laughed. “It’s just about the sport of snowboarding and putting on a good show. Win, lose or draw, it doesn’t really matter the color of the medal, we’re here united as shredding babes.”

World champion Arielle Gold of the United States did not even make it to qualifying, falling during her warm-up and pulling out after consulting with medical staff.

Despite disappointment for Teter and Gold, the Americans restored some pride for the nation after the men’s halfpipe team, spearheaded by Shaun White, failed to win a medal for the first time in an Olympics on Tuesday.

After the drama of the men’s final, Wednesday was a more subdued night at Extreme Park, with the tension only really ratcheting up after Clark’s second run when the judges took an age to confirm her score and decide the podium places.

Farrington’s Idaho rancher father used to sell livestock to fund her career, and she attributed her surprise success to her rural upbringing.

“Growing up on a ranch made me the person I am today,” she said. “It definitely made me a tough girl. As my parents have been saying this whole journey, ‘just cowgirl up’ – that’s kind of what I’ve gotta do.”

(Editing by Peter Rutherford/Mitch Phillips/Mike Collett-White)

Recent Headlines

17 hours ago in Music

Stone Temple Pilots shoot down Scott Stapp rumors

scottstapp

Stone Temple Pilots have denied reports suggesting the former Creed rocker is set to become their new lead vocalist.

17 hours ago in Weird

Oops! School unwittingly distributes yearbook pic of student’s penis

cameraCLIPART

An Arizona student who showed his penis in his football team's photograph was arrested briefly after his high school unwittingly sent the image to hundreds of his Phoenix-area classmates as part of its yearbook.

17 hours ago in Entertainment, Viral Videos

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ as told by emojis

11-overlay-2

If the blockbuster movie was told entirely by characters on your cell phone.

17 hours ago in Entertainment, Weird

‘Rock’ your clock

dwaynetherockjohnson690454149554

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has an app to help you organize their day.

18 hours ago in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: The cicadas are coming …

24-overlay

Billions of cicadas will soon emerge after spending 17 years underground and they have a lot of catching up to do.