In 2014, the U.S. took all three medals in the Olympic debut of men’s ski slopestyle. Another sweep is looking possible in Beijing.
Colby Stevenson, Alex Hall and Nick Goepper made it an all-American podium at Friday’s Dew Tour in Copper Mountain, Colorado. Mac Forehand, the other American in the 10-skier final, was fourth for good measure.
Stevenson, who was one millimeter from brain damage in 2016 and qualified for his first Olympics earlier this week, won it on the last run of the contest, capped by a 1440.
He scored 96.25 points, passing Hall. Hall, who was 16th at the 2018 Olympics, would have clinched a spot on the Beijing team with a victory, but he’s still in great shape heading into the last Olympic selection event next month.
Stevenson and Forehand became the first U.S. freeskiers to clinch Olympic selection criteria last week, thanks to their world rankings (second and third). All men who qualify in ski slopestyle can also compete in the new Olympic event of ski big air.
The team will be three or four men. Hall is likely to land the third and final objective spot. It’s expected that a fourth man will be taken via coaches’ discretion. Goepper, a two-time Olympic medalist, made his case Friday. His best finish in Olympic selection events coming into this week was 11th.
Goepper was part of another American slopestyle podium sweep at the 2014 Sochi Olympics — the third time the U.S. achieved the feat in any Winter Olympic event. The gold medalist from Russia, Joss Christensen, announced his retirement a year ago. The silver medalist, Gus Kenworthy, now competes for Great Britain.
Øystein Bråten, the 2018 Olympic champion, will not defend his title as he focuses on freeski filming, according to Norwegian media last spring.
If anybody can prevent a sweep in Beijing, it’s Swiss social media sensation Andri Ragettli. The man known for his floor-is-lava and other unusual training videos won the world championships last season and was not in the Dew Tour field.
Dew Tour continues Saturday and Sunday with snowboarding halfpipe and slopestyle finals, plus the men’s ski halfpipe final.
In Friday’s women’s ski halfpipe final, China’s Eileen Gu, an 18-year-old born in San Francisco to an American father and Chinese mother, won as she continues to look like a threat for three gold medals in Beijing (halfpipe, slopestyle, big air).
After Estonian Kelly Sildaru, 17-year-old American Hanna Faulhaber took third to boost her Olympic qualifying chances.
The U.S. Olympic ski halfpipe qualifying series runs through Jan. 7.
The top two Americans per gender in the world rankings on Jan. 6 make the Olympic team, should they also rank in the top six in the world. Currently, PyeongChang bronze medalist Brita Sigourney is the top American woman at No. 7.
To reach three skiers per gender, the top performers from the six qualifying events will be added, based on a skier’s single best podium result. After that, the teams can reach a maximum of four skiers per gender through discretionary selections.
Through three qualifying events, Sigourney and Faulhaber have a podium result (each with a third place).
Maddie Bowman, the 2014 Olympic champ, announced her retirement last year.
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With each passing run in the men's ski slopestyle final, limits and skills were pushed, making for intense competition. Congrats to Colby Stevenson taking first place and Alex Hall & Nick Goepper rounding out the podium in second and third. #dewtour #skiing pic.twitter.com/b6kyi1pomI
— Dew Tour (@DewTour) December 17, 2021