Cover photo: Sam Mellish
It's fair to say that the slopestyle women have not had the luck of the draw these Olympics. With qualifying postponed two days ago, and then contested in freezing cold conditions yesterday, they were due a break for the finals. Qualis saw Sarah Hoefflin miss the cut and other big names, including Mathilde Gremaud and Tess Ledeux struggle throughout. Marin Hamill took a heavy crash and despite making the cut, was unable to take part in today's finals. We love her style and hope to see her back in the game soon!
Today was, it has to be said (if just for emphasis), marginally warmer (a balmy -20 degrees celsius) but the freezing cold and gusty wind still played a role. It certainly wasn't the break they were looking for but the ladies still threw down and the whole field put it on the line to try and take the win.
It was a slow, perhaps nervy, start to the finals and it was Katie Summerhayes who was first to make it to the bottom of the course. Her second hit gap 270 wasn't the smoothest but the rest of the run was clean and it was her third straight Olympic final an impressive feat in itself. Tess Ledeux showed she had the makings of a crazy run but a couple of small issues kept her score below 80, clearly to her own surprise. Kirsty Muir was a smidge of airtime away from a banger score of her own, coming up a tiny bit short on a last hit dub 12, as did Anastasia Tatalina. Eileen Gu also had a couple of small issues on her run, in particular underrotating the second hit switch 270 on, and tickling a couple of grabs but both her rails and jumps were clearly medal level. Kelly, last to drop was the first to ski top to bottom run without an obvious mistake, and while she held back on the tech even compared to qualifying.
Things immediately stepped up on run 2, with Mathilde Gremaud taking the lead. She opened her run with a gap switch 2 continuing 2, stomped a dub 10 on the angled takeoffs, and then went bio 9 to switch 7 down the bottom for 86.56. Kirsty Muir went to Gucci plateau on her right cork 7 and stomped it, putting down the dub 12 safety at the bottom for a solid run, but a couple of small rail issues kept her score to the low 70s. Anastasia Tatalina was the only girl hitting the big dfd, gapping up to the takeoff pad and 270 disastering to the down. She rounded things off with a dub 12 mute provisional third. Maggie Voisin was the third in a row to stomp dub 12 on the bottom jump, going huge. She kinda ballerina'd her back 6 out of the big drop rail but the rest of the run was clean, narrowly pipping Anastasia. Eileen Gu crashed on a front 6 off the drop rail, but her rails were already not looking as solid as her first run by that point. Johanne Killi also had some rail issues, missing her continuing 2 out of the switch 2 on her first hit, and coming off a little early on the gap 2 on. But she put down a switch dub 10 at the bottom. Again the run was there just tantalizingly out of reach. It looked like Kelly Sildaru had turned back time to her dominant days for her whole run: switch 2 pretz 2, opposite switch 2 continuing 2, back 6, 9 tail, back to back switch 10s... but she lost a shoe on what looked like a perfect stomp on the final feature. Would that cost her a gold medal?
Mathilde Gremaud dropped into the final run in the lead. It looked like a gold medal run until the last hit but she totally lost the switch dub 10 on the takeoff. Tess Ledeux couldn't put it down clean today and after a heartbreaking silver in Big Air, she was clearly gutted. Kirsty Muir went too big on the right cork 7 again, a pity after the switch 2 pretz 4 up top was textbook and the rest of the run was clean too. Anastasia Tatalina laced a surprise dub 14 mute on her bottom hit. The switch 5 on the second jump feature killed her score but it was still provisional third. Eileen Gu, somehow, put it down on her final run. 450 on up top, switch 270, front 6, switch bio 9 blunt, left dub 10 safety to japan, right 9 buick... but it's provisional second place not provisional gold. Johanne Killi stomped her run immediately afterwards. Switch 2 continuing 2, 270 on, 450 off, 9 blunt, switch left 7 japan, switch dub 10 japan. Style, control... 73 points? Seemed harsh on initial viewing but it did look like she whiffed the blunt on the 9 on replay. Last to drop was Kelly Sildaru, guaranteed a bronze, but she couldn't better it. She went to the moon on her first switch 10 but missed the blind 2 of her second rail hit and just wasn't clean enough.
GOLD: Mathilde Gremaud
SILVER: Eileen Gu
BRONZE: Kelly Sildaru