Joss Christensen leads ski slopestyle sweep for Team USA

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For the third time in history, the U.S. has swept the medals in a Winter Olympic event.

In the inaugural Olympic men’s ski slopestyle final, Joss Christensen became the discipline’s first champion and topped a podium that also featured teammates Gus Kenworthy with the silver and Nick Goepper with the bronze.

VIDEO: Watch all the U.S. runs

They join Hayes Jenkins, Ronnie Robertson and David Jenkins (1956, men’s figure skating) plus Ross Powers, Danny Kass and J.J. Thomas (2002, men’s snowboard halfpipe) as American trios that have bagged gold, silver, and bronze in a Winter Games.

VIDEO: See how U.S. dominated event

It’s also the third event sweep already at the Sochi Olympics, which, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon, equals the most ever for men in a single Winter Games; such a feat had taken place just once before, at St. Moritz in 1928.

Christensen’s gold marks the fourth such medal for the U.S. in the Sochi Olympics, and it’s the first of the four to come outside of snowboarding after wins from Sage Kotsenburg (men’s slopestyle), Jamie Anderson (women’s slopestyle) and Kaitlyn Farrington (women’s halfpipe).

VIDEO: The science behind Christensen’s golden run

Pulling off a triple cork on the first run of his final, Christensen netted a 95.80 that was enough to hold off a strong second run from Kenworthy (93.60) and first run from Goepper (92.40).

The Park City, Utah native won the final Olympic qualifier event before being put on the U.S. Olympic Team as a discretionary selection.

His addition to Team USA came after the death of his father, J.D., last August; Joss was training with the U.S. team in New Zealand at the time.

FREESTYLE SKIING – MEN’S SLOPESTYLE FINAL
1. Joss Christensen (USA), 95.80
2. Gus Kenworthy (USA), 93.60
3. Nick Goepper (USA), 92.40
4. Andreas Haatveit (NOR), 91.80
5. James Woods (GBR), 86.60
6. Henrik Harlaut (SWE), 84.40
7. Aleksander Aurdal (NOR), 81.80
8. Russell Henshaw (AUS), 80.40
9. Bobby Brown (USA), 78.40
10. Oystein Bratten (NOR), 66.40
11. Josiah Wells (NZL), 60.00
12. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (CAN), 21.40

Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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