Bowman, Rolland victorious at PC Grand Prix
PARK CITY, Utah -- Only a handful of athletes can master both slopestyle and halfpipe skiing at a world-class level. Devin Logan headlines that select group.
Logan isn't satisfied with simply competing at an elite level in two different events. She wants a shot at a gold medal in both events at the Sochi Olympics.
Logan took a step closer to realizing that dream with a victory in the slopestyle final at the U.S. Grand Prix on Friday. The 2011 U.S. halfpipe champion clinched one of three automatic berths after scoring 87.40 points on her first run.
It was just enough for Logan to hold off Canada's Dara Howell, who scored 87.00 on her second run to finish second. Canada's Kaya Turski, the 2013 World slopestyle champion, took third after scoring 86.80 points on her second run.
Logan is also competing in the women's halfpipe finals, which will be her sole focus when the U.S. Grand Prix continues on Saturday.
"I've been doing both since I was 13 years old, so it's just second nature to me," Logan said. "One helps me in the other with doing tricks and everything. Why not go for two? Better to have two chances than one. Hopefully, I'll bring home a couple of medals."
Turski, who is also a three-time Winter X Games champion, competed for the first time since suffering a torn ACL in August. Her top-three finish helped her clinch a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. Howell had already earned a spot before Friday's competition.
American skier Alex Schlopy won the men's slopestyle final in the afternoon to earn his first podium finish since 2011. Schlopy, who was the 2011 men's world champion, earned 92.20 points on his first run to clinch the victory.
Bobby Brown scored 91.80 on his final run to finish second and clinch a spot in Sochi. Gus Kenworthy took third after posting a score of 91.40 on his first run.
Various factors ranging from injuries to weather-related problems have kept Schlopy off the podium in recent years. Getting a breakthrough win at Park City helps him believe things are finally getting back to normal.
"I've been waiting and working so hard," Schlopy said. "It just feels good to have hard work start to pay off. I didn't really expect to jump right into first place or whatever, but I'm stoked."
Maddie Bowman did not need a victory to wrap up a spot in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Bowman already assured herself a trip to Sochi with her ski halfpipe win in Colorado last weekend.
That didn't stop her from putting on another show on Friday night.
Bowman scored 92.20 points on her final run to claim victory in the first halfpipe event at the Grand Prix in Park City. She has won three of the four Olympic team selection events so far in the women's halfpipe. Bowman, the reigning Winter X Games champion, is expected to be a gold medal contender for Team USA next month in Sochi.
"There was definitely a different kind of pressure today," Bowman said. "I had a lot of friends and family out here and I wanted to impress them. I had a great time and it made it all more fun."
France claimed the remaining two podium spots. Marie Martinod scored 89.80 points to finish second, and Anais Caradeux took third with 84.80 points.
American skier Brita Sigourney missed out on a podium finish, but strong finishes in previous selection events helped her clinch a spot on the US team.
France's Kevin Rolland took the top spot in the men's halfpipe final Friday. Rolland finished first after scoring 94.40 points on his final run. He had already clinched a spot on the French Olympic team.
"I'm assured to go," Rolland said. "That's why it was more easy for me to compete tonight because I don't have a lot of pressure. I know already if I don't hurt myself I'm going to be there, so that's good."
Americans Alex Ferreira and Lyman Currier claimed the other podium spots. Ferreira finished second after scoring 93.80 points on his first run and Currier took third when he scored 91.0 points on his final run.