Seven Athletes Qualify For Halfpipe Finals
Seven Team USA athletes are headed into halpipe finals after Thursday's qualifiers at the Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China.
Aaron Blunck led the men's qualifying standings in first. Followed by Birk Irving in third, David Wise in fourth, and Alex Ferreira in seventh. With the entire U.S. men's team through to the final, the boys hold a strong chance to earn one last individual medal for the U.S. Freeski Team, or three.
"I felt really really nervous coming into that second run," Blunck said after the conclusion of qualifiers. "I felt good going up the T-Bar but then once I got back up to the top I couldn't stop shaking, couldn't stop moving. Very stressful, but none the less, "I just told myself, dude just chill, you got this thing man' and sure enough, dropped in and I feel like everything went black. I don't even really remember riding through the pipe. That's the most nerve-racking part, but now that it's on to finals we get to go ski and have fun, and that's what it's all about."
Brita Sigourney put down two technical runs to solidify her spot in the final, posting an eighth place finish. 17-year-old Hanna Faulhaber finished in ninth in her Olympic debut, showing off her amplitude but keeping it mellow before bringing her more technical tricks to the final. Carly Margulies followed suit in 10th, throwing down two solid runs with more to come in her final show.
"This is a lot of weight off of my shoulders," said 32-year-old team veteran and Olympic bronze medalist, Sigourney. "You would think I would be able to calm the nerves a little bit more at my third Olympics but I do not remember being this stressed in PyeongChang or Sochi."
"But that's part of competing, that's part of our sport," she added. "You have a lot of adrenaline, a lot of self doubt, constant building yourself up, and reminding yourself you can do it. But that's why it feels so good when you do do it."
Sigourney, who earned a bronze at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, has been feeling a bit more nervous coming into the Beijing Games. Having medaled at the last Olympics puts a bit more pressure on the team veteran from all corners of the country. The sport has progressed over the past for years, and Sigourney expects the women's final to be quite teh show. At the end of it all, she hopes to make herself and the people closet to her proud.
"I expect (Friday) to be the best contest we've ever seen in women's halfpipe," said Sigourney. "Just the first eight scores before I dropped were really impressive. I've never really seen a final where everyone is in the 80s or high 70s. I'm happy everyone is putting down their best skiing and progression is through the roof."
Devin Logan finished just outside of the top 12 in 13th, missing the last spot by half a point in her final Olympic appearance.
Women's finals are up first in the line up, scheduled to take place Friday, Feb. 18 in Beijing, and Thursday evening in North America.
Women's halfpipe final
Men's halfpipe final
HOW TO WATCH
*All times EST
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022
8:30 p.m. Freeski – Women's Halfpipe Final, Genting Snow Park, Zhangjiakou, CHN, USA Network
Friday, Feb. 18, 2022
6:00 a.m. Freestyle Skiing - Women's Halfpipe Final, Genting Snow Park, Zhangjiakou, CHN, NBC Broadcast