Men's Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe Olympics 2014: Qualifying Results and Recap

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2014

Yannic Lerjen from Switzerland trains in the halfpipe during a freestyle skiing training session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Sergei Grits/Associated Press

The first-ever freestyle skiing halfpipe in Olympics history is in the books, as 12 skiers qualified for the final round in the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi.    

Although snowy conditions made it a bit harder for the judges, the athletes themselves didn't seem to have too many difficulties. The announcers made a note that with blurry conditions, some may have trouble seeing the lip of the halfpipe.

In the end, it never seemed to be an issue.

That wasn't the case for the crowd. Rachel Axon of USA Today snapped of a photo of the view fans had at the bottom of the slope, and needless to say, it's a bit obstructed:

Fortunately, the snow relented as the round went on. However, it turned into a rain/snow mix that was more slushy, which made the halfpipe a bit slick, per John Branch of The New York Times:

Those wintry conditions didn't stop 12 skiers from posting huge runs and advancing to the next round.

Here are the full results for qualifying.

Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe
Pos.NameCountryBest RunQualified
1Justin DoreyCanada91.60Q
2David WiseUnited States88.40Q
3Benoit ValentinFrance87.00Q
4Kevin RollandFrance84.80Q
5Josiah WellsNew Zealand83.00Q
6Mike RiddleCanada82.80Q
7Noah BowmanCanada80.60Q
8Lyndon SheehanNew Zealand80.00Q
9Antti-Jussi KempainenFinland79.40Q
10Beau-James WellsNew Zealand76.80Q
11Thomas KriefFrance74.80Q
12Aaron BlunckUnited States72.00Q
13Jon Anders LindstadNorway69.00
14Yannic LerjenSwitzerland67.60
15Matt MargettsCanada66.80
16Nils LauperSwitzerland65.00
17Murray BuchanGreat Britain62.40
18Joel GislerSwitzerland60.80
19Marco LadnerAustria58.60
20Andreas GohlAustria54.80
21Xavier BertoniFrance53.40
22Kentaro TsudaJapan53.00
23James MachonGreat Britain52.20
24Pavel NabokikhRussia50.40
25Kwang-Jin KimSouth Korea45.40
26Torin Yater-WallaceUnited States39.00
27Peter CrookBritish Virgin Islands25.20
28Lyman CurrierUnited States12.60
29Byron WellsNew ZealandDNS

Canadian Justin Dorey finished in first place, posting the only score in the 90s among the two heats. After a poor first run, Dorey regained his composure and wowed the judges, who gave him a 91.60:

He was one of three Canadians—Mike Riddle and Noah Bowman being the others—heading to the final round. Canada is one of three countries sending three skiers to the finals. France and New Zealand also cleaned up in the qualifying round.

The United States wasn't quite so lucky.

American David Wise came into the 2014 Games as one of the favorites to win gold in skiing halfpipe, and he duly delivered in the qualifying round.

Unfortunately, another American hopeful, Torin Yater-Wallace, failed to live up to expectations. On his first run, he went for the home run right off the bat but fell, settling for a 7.00.

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 18:  Torin Yater-Wallace of the United States crashes out in the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe Qualification on day eleven of the 2014 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Luckily, Yater-Wallace had a second chance to make things right and get into the final.

It was the same story, though, for the 18-year-old. Up until the end of the run, Yater-Wallace put together a great program. He hit a couple of big moves and stuck the landings. On his last jump, though, he stumbled as he hit the snow and ever so slowly fell back to the earth:

In the end, Yater-Wallace would finish with a 39.00, good for 26th.

He remained humble on Twitter in defeat:

Lyman Currier's fate was even worse.

He wrecked on both runs as well, but on his second, the 19-year-old landed awkwardly and looked to have seriously hurt his knee, per Powder Magazine:

Currier was in visible anguish on his way down the slope, per BuzzFeed Sports:

At least the United States also has Aaron Blunck heading into the final in addition to Wise. The irony during the second heat was that the more success Currier or Yater-Wallace had on their second runs meant that Blunck almost certainly would have been bounced from the top 12.

As ESPN's Alyssa Roenigk pointed out, the underdogs have reigned so far in the Olympics. Perhaps Blunck is the next in line:

The final begins a little later on, and it will be fascinating to see who can put it all together for one great run and captivate the Sochi crowd. There's a ton of talent among the 12 skiers in the final round, so it won't be easy.

If not Blunck, then the U.S. will be hoping that at least Wise can help bring home some plaudits and pad the Americans' medal tally.


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