Olympics: U.S. Sweeps Men's Ski Slopestyle Podium
by Joyce Eng
Gus Kenworthy, Joss Christensen, Nicholas Goepper
Gold, silver and bronze? More like red, white and blue.
Americans Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper swept the inaugural men’s ski slopestyle event at the Winter Olympics Thursday. This is the third time the U.S. has swept a podium in a Winter Games, following men’s figure skating in 1956 and men’s snowboarding halfpipe in 2002.
The 411 on the 12 new Winter Olympic events
Christenen scored a 95.80 on his first run, which was capped off with a switch triple cork 1440, and the mark held up the rest of the contest. Kenworthy’s second run scored a 93.60 and Goepper, the favorite going in, got a 92.40.
The sweep boosted the U.S.’ lagging medal count to 12 — four golds, two silvers and six bronzes — to tie the Netherlands and sit one behind Norway. Nine of the medals, including all four golds, have come in freestyle skiing and snowboarding. The U.S. won three of the four new slopestyle events, with its northern neighbor Canada winning the other.
The U.S. had yet another disappointing day in the speed skating oval though. Looking to end a 12-year medal drought for American women, world sprint champ Heather Richardson and world record holder Brittany Rowe finished in seventh and eighth, respectively in the 1,000 meters. Zhang Hong gave China its first speed skating gold medal ever, winning in 1:14.02, followed by Dutchwomen Ireen Wust (1:14.69) and Margot Boer (1:14.90).
Germany continued its domination of luge in the new team relay, coming in first with its team comprised of gold medalists from the men’s, women’s and doubles events. Russia won the silver and Latvia took the bronze.
In another wild short track race, China’s Li Jianrou won after a crash took out several skaters. Arianna Fontana of Italy grabbed silver and South Korean Park-Seung-Hi took bronze.
Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk won the 10-kilometer cross-country classic, followed by Swede Charlotte Kalla and Norway’s Therese Johaug.
Olympic hotties: Who’s sizzling beneath the parka?
The men’s figure skating short program also took place Thursday in dramatic fashion. Four-time Olympic medalist Evgeni Plushenko, who won gold in the team event for Russia, withdrew after tweaking his back in warm-up and subsequently retired. He had undergone two spinal surgeries in the past couple years. American Jeremy Abbott, who fell twice in the team event, crashed hard on a quad, but recovered to complete his skate. Favorites Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan and Canada’s three-time reigning world champ Patrick Chan are in the top two spots.
What did you think of Day 6?