Olympic Freestyle Skiing 2014: Hopefuls with Best Chance to End Canada's Rule

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Olympic Freestyle Skiing 2014: Hopefuls with Best Chance to End Canada's Rule
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The Canadians have had their way thus far in the freestyle skiing competitions, but there are several contenders that might have just what it takes to knock them off their throne moving forward.

After both the men's and women's moguls events on Day 2 and Day 3, Canada claimed a combined four medals with two golds and two silvers. And with several of their top competitors participating in both slopestyle events, the Canadians could continue their run.

In fact, thanks to their rule in freestyle skiing, the country sits at the top of the medal count after Day 3:

But thanks to strong fields in both the women's and men's skiing slopestyle events from the USA and other countries, it appears that Canada's recent run in Sochi could come to an end when the events begin.

Before the freestyle skiing action turns over to the slopestyle competition, let's have a look at a few of the hopefuls who will be looking to knock the Canadians off the podium.

 

Andreas Hatveit, Norway

The 27-year-old veteran has been on the circuit for quite a while but has been at his best as of late.

With a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter X-Games in Aspen and a win at the 2013 World Cup in December, it appears Hatveit might be primed to make some more noise in Sochi.

The field in the men's division is actually stacked with several likely contenders, but the Norwegian legend still has just as good a shot as any to claim the gold medal when the men hit the slopes.

The ESPN Freeskiing Twitter account reported that his X-Games run would be his last as he went out in style on the podium:

Even if 2014 proves to be his final run at Winter Olympic Gold, the Norwegian could still wind up on top of the podium if all goes well. What a swansong that would be.

 

Devin Logan, USA

Team USA has another contender in Devin Logan that looks primed to take home a medal.

The only question is: Can she take the top prize away from one of the top Canadians in Kaya Turski?

With a fifth-place finish in Aspen for the Winter X-Games this year and a silver medal back in 2012, it looks like a long shot. But Logan is a fighter who has recovered from a devastating injury to make a comeback on the sport's biggest stage.

Despite the fact that Logan didn't medal in her first event back in Aspen, she's hoping to come out strong in Sochi, according to Susan Keese of Vermont Public Radio:

I’m just planning to do what I do well and have as much fun with it as possible. I mean, we’re the first ones! We’re the pioneers here for the Olympics, so there’s not too much pressure built up. We just want to make it look as good as possible, so that everyone else will see how much fun we have and our sport will grow in the eyes of the world.

The 20-year-old will face much stiffer Canadian competition than the men as both Turski and Dara Howell will be looking to make the first podium in slopestyle history.

 

Nick Goepper, USA

When athletes start pulling off tricks that have never been done in slopestyle history, they're probably going to be seen as the favorite to win.

That's exactly what Nick Goepper did with his triple-cork in slopestyle at the X-Games in January. Goepper spoke about the trick and his fear of it before pulling it off, per Rachel Axon of USA Today:

I was super scared to do it, but seeing all the snowboarders throw down just gave me a little bit more confidence to throw a triple. After doing it a few times, the muscle memory took over so I'm pretty stoked to put it down.

Along with Goepper, American Gus Kenworthy also pulled off the difficult trick, but finished fifth in the competition. With Goepper having more style on other tricks—a lot like Sage Kotsenburg in snowboard slopestyle—his odds look much more likely with the tricks in his repertoire.

As for Goepper himself, he appears ready to compete after his practice session on Monday, as he posted on his Twitter account:

With Goepper looking like the favorite to pull off another gold in a slopestyle competition for the Americans, it will be interesting to see how he performs in the first-ever event on the Olympics stage.

 

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