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Monday, August 8, 2022

Two Americans won gold medals in the halfpipe finals of freestyle skiing

On Saturday, the United States won a pair of gold in the men’s freestyle skiing halfpipe, apparently defying gravity to the extent as the harsh, snow- and wind-blown conditions in Hebei Province permitted.

Nico Porteous of New Zealand, the day’s top performer on the slopes, took home the gold medal with his first run, with a perfect score of 93. A 90.75 earned David Wise silver in the Games, despite the fact that he had won the event’s previous two gold medals in the last two years. Alex Ferreira, who won silver in halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics, took home the bronze medal on Saturday after scoring an 86.75 on his first run.

Even though there were plenty of eye-catching tricks — Porteous landed five of them, including back-to-back ones with four and a half rotations, during his run that earned him the top spot on Saturday — the air temperature was officially reported as minus 12 degrees Fahrenheit, and persistently strong winds forced many of the skiers to temper their ambitions.

In Sochi, Gus Kenworthy, who competed for Britain and finished eighth, said that the wind was “always there.” “People were getting blown onto the deck, and even when it wasn’t blowing people like onto the deck or in the middle, it was just there,” he added. Gus Kenworthy won a silver medal in Sochi eight years ago. This was particularly detrimental to amplitude since it was swirling in the centre. People had to drastically reduce the length of their runs.”

At least one run was scored by merely a single digit for more than half of the 12-man field, including Porteous and Wise, on Saturday, according to the box score.

According to Kenworthy, “the guys who are in the top three right now made incredible runs, but they were not the runs they intended to do.” “I’m aware that much of the field has been significantly devalued in order to attempt to put one down.”

Wise looked to be a little taken aback by Porteous’ ability to handle the treacherous course of the Beijing Games’ freestyle skiing final, which will conclude on Sunday.

Porteous, however, understood the dangers of the day, even as he rejoiced in winning a gold medal at the Games four years after taking bronze.

In his own words, “I pounded what I knew and did my best and left everything out there.”

“I’m at a loss for words right now,” he said, referring to the chilly temperatures.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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