Americans win gold and silver in freeski slopestyle

Americans win gold and silver in freeski slopestyle

American skier Alex Hall took the gold medal in his first freeski slopestyle run in Beijing despite his rivals trying 30 more times and failing to beat him.

The 23-year-old student from Salt Lake City, Utah, couldn’t be beat after earning a perfect score on his first try and seeing his opponents fail time after time to beat his initial grade of 90.01.

His next two results didn’t matter as he topped the leaderboard and stayed there.

“It was definitely the best slopestyle downhill I have ever done, mainly because it epitomizes everything I love about skiing and the way I approach skiing, and I didn’t give up it to try to get more points or something like that,” Hall said. after the event.

“I just kept it to myself and I think the most important part of our sport is just doing it out of love and doing it the way you want to and not changing it.

23-year-old American skier Alex Hall won the gold medal in his first run at the Freeski Slopestyle competition in Beijing.

23-year-old American skier Alex Hall won the gold medal in his first run at the Freeski Slopestyle competition in Beijing.

A student from Salt Lake City, Utah failed to win after earning a perfect score on his first try.

A student from Salt Lake City, Utah failed to win after earning a perfect score on his first try.

He has seen his opponents fail time after time to beat his initial mark of 90.01.

He has seen his opponents fail time after time to beat his initial mark of 90.01.

His next two results didn't matter as he topped the leaderboard and stayed there.

His next two results didn’t matter as he topped the leaderboard and stayed there.

“It was definitely the best slopestyle downhill I have ever done, mainly because it epitomizes everything I love about skiing and the way I approach skiing, and I didn’t give up it to try to get more points or something like that,

“It was definitely the best slopestyle downhill I have ever done, mainly because it epitomizes everything I love about skiing and the way I approach skiing, and I didn’t give up it to try to get more points or something like that,” Hall said. after the event

At the most recent Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Hall finished without a medal in 16th place.

At the most recent Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Hall finished without a medal in 16th place.

Teammate Nicholas Goepper, 27 (left), of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, had to settle for silver with his best of 86.48.

Teammate Nicholas Goepper, 27 (left), of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, had to settle for silver with his best of 86.48.

The bronze medal went to Sweden's Jesper Tjader (right), whose best downhill attempt was 85.35.

The bronze medal went to Sweden’s Jesper Tjader (right), whose best downhill attempt was 85.35.

“Honestly, I was very, very surprised that I got into the first race. I ran some parts of the run, but definitely not all of it.”

His U.S. teammate Nicholas Goepper, 27, of Lawrenceburg, Ind., had to settle for silver with his best of 86.48, while the bronze medal went to Swede Jesper Tjader, whose best downhill attempt was 85.35 .

24-year-old American Colby Stevenson from Park City, Utah, finished seventh and congratulated his “buddies” with gold and silver.

Stevenson, 24, was happy to make it to the Olympic slopes after a car accident in 2016 nearly killed him and left him in a coma.

He fractured his skull, ribs, eye socket, jaw and neck and underwent two major surgeries, including one to insert a titanium plate into his skull. The doctors didn’t know if he’d make it out of the hospital, let alone ski.

After his Olympic debut in Beijing, he said, “Just being on the Olympic team was a great honor after everything I’ve been through because of the car accident.” It just seemed like the stars were about to align, and they definitely did.

“We are all very close friends which I love about freeskating and I am honored to compete with them on the world stage and compete with them on such an amazing and crazy track,” Hall (right) said.

“We are all very close friends which I love about freeskating and I am honored to compete with them on the world stage and compete with them on such an amazing and crazy track,” Hall (right) said.

Two Americans lead the podium and celebrate during the flower ceremony.

Two Americans lead the podium and celebrate during the flower ceremony.

“I’m super happy with my skiing but in the end my buddy Alex, Nick and Jesper came in third – what an event dude!”

Hall said: “We are all very close friends which I love about freeskating and I am honored to compete with them on the world stage and compete against them on such an amazing and crazy track.

Of his impressive first run, Hall said, “Especially with this track, how difficult are these rails? I was very surprised and very excited and then definitely not sure if it would hold up, but I’m really ecstatic that it did. I would have loved to have driven even better and climbed those rails a bit, but I’m glad it worked out.”

He said that his last jump, in which he scored the lowest score of 31.41, was the hardest.

“That last jump was definitely my toughest stunt,” Hall said.

“It’s called a right handed double 1080 pretzel one, it’s actually a dub nine, and I found out about it this fall and I’ve been doing it a bit, but it’s still a very, very difficult trick for me, simply because it’s hard to judge rotation and it’s really hard when I don’t know my speed exactly, and it’s been a little hard this week because of the wind.”

Hall grew up skiing in Switzerland because his parents Markus and Elena were professors at the University of Zurich. He started freestyle at the age of 11. He got his first team coach when he moved to the US seven years ago.

He said he started freestyle “for fun and just to get naughty with friends”.

Hall celebrating his gold medal in the men's slopestyle final

Hall celebrating his gold medal in the men’s slopestyle final

At the last Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, he finished without a medal and finished 16th.

He tried not to talk about Olympic gold as his dream, but said that he primarily seeks to enjoy sports.

“When I was younger, I wanted to win an X Games gold medal and finally did it twice.

“So that was my huge goal, so now I’m just going to try to enjoy the competition and keep doing well, but nothing specific, just enjoy it, that’s the most important part.”

But Hall has shown signs of superstition in the past, as he was known to wear a lucky jumper during competitions, which was a Christmas present from his mother.

Gepper, who won bronze in Sochi in 2014 and silver in Pyeongchang four years later, said after winning his third medal: “This is something I never dreamed of. If you told me, a 16 year old, that this is exactly what is going to happen right now, I would say that you are crazy.

Hall said he was simply looking to enjoy the sport first and not necessarily focus on the gold medal.

Hall said he was simply looking to enjoy the sport first and not necessarily focus on the gold medal.

Gepper (left) won bronze in Sochi in 2014 and silver in Pyeongchang four years later.

Gepper (left) won bronze in Sochi in 2014 and silver in Pyeongchang four years later.

“I feel great. Life is beautiful, I am very grateful for everything that has happened over the past couple of years. Life is a roller coaster, but getting another medal at the next Olympics is just awesome.”

He said that he admitted the alarm when he went out on the slope today.

“I was very nervous. I got a little confused on the first rail on my first run.

“In the second run, I went through most of the race, there were a couple of bubbles. It wasn’t perfect so I was surprised he got such a high score, but everyone was experiencing the Olympic jitters today and it was just a matter of losing from top to bottom.

When asked to explain his longevity in the sport, he said, “I wish I had a magical answer, but above all, you have to like it. And in the moments when you don’t love him, you should know that eventually you will love him. Because that’s how you keep putting in work, but it’s just constant grinding. It’s a cliché.

“We grind on rails, but you have to grind all the time and that’s how you do it.”

But he left a question mark about his sporting future when asked if he would continue his career, adding: “Ask me in the morning.”

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