Nick Goepper

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Woods takes ski slopestyle gold at worlds; Goepper gets bronze

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Britain’s James Woods won the world championship ski slopestyle title amid sub-optimal snow conditions Wednesday in Park City, Utah.

His best run was good enough to beat Norway’s Birk Ruud by a slim margin. American Nick Goepper finished with the bronze.

Watch a full replay of the event by clicking here.

The 27-year-old Woods won silver in slopestyle at worlds in 2013 and bronze in ’17. He just missed a podium spot at the Pyeongchang Games when he finished fourth. Goepper took Olympic silver in South Korea.

Said Woods of the challenging conditions Wednesday: “It was a bit of a wild day. Today was a pretty close call if it was going to be fair enough for us. … I lucked out a little bit.”

The women’s ski slopestyle race was postponed due to weather and the organizing committee announced Wednesday night the event won’t be made up.

“It’s obviously incredibly disappointing to have to move plans around, and to have to cancel such exciting competitions, not just for those involved in putting on these events, but in particular for the athletes,” said Calum Clark, chair of the FIS snowboard, freestyle and freeski world championships organizing committee.

Nick Goepper to be Indy 500 Grand Marshal, continuing Olympic tie-ins

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Nick Goepper, a two-time Olympic ski slopestyle medalist, will be at least the second Olympian to be the grand marshal of the Indy 500.

Goepper, an Indiana native, will give the command for drivers to report to their cars during pre-race ceremonies. In 2015, Olympic champion gymnast Nastia Liukin was the Indy 500 Grand Marshal, taking a parade lap around the 2.5-mile oval before the start.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong drove the Indy 500 pace car in 2006.

In 2014, Sochi medalists figure skater Gracie Gold, bobsledder Steven Langton and Goepper made VIP appearances at the Great American Race. Triple Olympic medalist bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor tweeted that she will also be at Sunday’s race.

Goepper earned bronze in the first Olympic ski slopestyle event in Sochi, going in as a favorite, then silver in PyeongChang as a surprise medalist. In between, Goepper suffered from depression, a drinking problem and suicidal thoughts.

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MORE: Goepper, Kenworthy walk away with different victories in PyeongChang

Nick Goepper details suicidal thoughts after Sochi Olympics

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Nick Goepper said he had suicidal thoughts after winning an Olympic ski slopestyle bronze medal in Sochi in February 2014.

“That summer of 2014, I really experienced this, like, emotional distress. And it really just started to slide emotionally,” Goepper said in an X Games interview published Saturday. “There came a point where I was drinking every day, and I was constantly thinking about ways to end my own life.

“I was, like, flirting, with that idea. I wasn’t ballsy or committed enough to actually do it. It was like a really messed up way of saying help me, but without saying it to a friend or a family member.”

Goepper, the pre-Sochi favorite, immersed himself in appearances and activities immediately after being part of the U.S. Olympic podium sweep with Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy.

Goepper’s attorney said he suffered from anxiety and depression when he threw rocks at cars in his native Indiana in August 2014, causing $8,000 in damage, according to a Cincinnati TV station.

“He called one night, and he said, ‘Mom, I’m thinking about going to get a bottle of vodka and go sit in my car in Lambs Canyon [Utah] and drink the whole thing,’” his mom, Linda, said in the X Games video. “Lambs Canyon was where another skier had committed suicide [2010 Olympic aerials silver medalist Jeret “Speedy” Peterson in 2011]. I knew that Nick was in trouble.”

Goepper, who won his third straight X Games title in January 2015 and dislocated a shoulder the next month, said he attended rehab in Texas for two months in fall 2015.

He was 11th at X Games in 2016 and 2017 but came back this season to become the first American to qualify for the Olympic men’s slopestyle team.

“We almost lost Nick,” Goepper’s dad, Chris, said. “He almost killed himself, so it doesn’t get any lower than that.”

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MORE: Full U.S. Olympic freestyle skiing team