Every four years, all of a sudden snowboarding turns into a team sport. Riders join together to honor and represent not just themselves as athletes but also their country. Team USA has always been known to be one of the strongest teams in the Olympic Games.
Specifically, the U.S. snowboard team has been the strongest team in the history of the four Olympics that it’s been a part of, winning multiple medals on the men’s and women’s sides at each Olympics. This year, it was a pleasure to be able to watch some of my best friends compete in Russia to not only showcase snowboarding to the world, but also to represent the USA with the highest regard and respect.
The women’s halfpipe team this year consisted of Kaitlyn Farrington, Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter and Arielle Gold. Unfortunately Arielle fell in practice and was not able to compete, but the other girls definitely stepped up to what has been reported as one of the most challenging competition halfpipes to date. These three girls all have very different styles of riding, so it was amazing to watch them all deal with sub-par conditions and still put on a show.
I definitely felt for all the girls while watching the contest because you could see the conditions of the pipe were challenging and holding people back from riding at their full potential. Having competed in challenging conditions, I know how frustrating this can be, so I could almost feel their frustrations and challenges through the TV screen.
Despite the conditions, I think it was clear the U.S. team has some of the best snowboarders in the world, and it was amazing to see that talent shine through on the world’s biggest athletic stage. The highlights of the contest for me were Hannah’s frontside 9, Kaitlyn’s alley-oop 5, and Kelly’s frontside air, and obviously Kaitlyn coming away the champion.
I am ecstatic that Kaitlyn was able to land her run and come away with the win. I felt like her technical run, mixed with the best style that we saw that night, definitely deserved the gold medal.