The HalfPIpe Freeskiers dropped in on Day 14, with both GB athletes safely through to the Finals
Atkin cruises through Women’s HalfPipe
Making her Olympic debut, 19-year-old Zoe Atkin made serene progress to tomorrow’s Finals with two strong runs in a competitive qualifying field. Having landed an 85.25 in her first run which left her safely positioned in fifth spot, Atkin chose to add an unpracticed trick to her second run which pushed her up into fourth spot with a score of 86.75, just 0.75 behind Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru in third, before teasing in post-competition comments that she may have more up her sleeve on Finals day.
Speaking afterwards, Atkin said:
“I’m so excited. I was really nervous. You are even more nervous on qualifiers day than finals day.
“I just wanted to put down a clean run. After my first run, I was like, ‘phew, all the pressure’s off.’
“Then I put down an even better second run and I’m really excited to be in the Finals tomorrow.
“It has been a dream for a while, so I’m honoured to represent Team GB and I’m really excited to be here.
“I’m so excited [for tomorrow’s Final]. I’m just going to try and have fun and put down a really good run and I’ll be happy with how it goes.
“You will have to wait and see and watch [if there are more new tricks to come]! But I definitely have a couple of tricks I might want to put into tomorrow’s final and step it up.”
Kenworthy comes up clutch to seal Final spot
On his third appearance at the Olympic Winter Games, and his first in British colours, Gus Kenworthy delivered when the pressure was on, qualifying in 12th spot for the Finals after crashing out on his first run. Landing a 70.75 in his second run, Kenworthy endured an agonising wait to see if it would be enough to hold onto a top-12 spot, and his progress was confirmed when China’s Bingqiang Mao and New Zealand’s Ben Harrington were unable to overhaul his score.
Kenworthy, who has battled the after-effects of covid throughout the season, goes through as the oldest athlete in the field and will look to the Silver medal he won in the Sochi 2014 Games for inspiration in tomorrow’s Final.
After the Qualifiers, Kenworthy said:
“It did not go very well but it went well enough and I’m just relieved, that was stressful watching from 12th position as the entire field took their second run.
“This has been a long road, the time between the Games gets longer and longer as you get older. I’ve had a bumpy road with my knee surgery and Covid, I’m very happy to be here healthy.
“I’ve got a deeper appreciation for being here since I’ve got older, it’s overwhelming being at the Olympics, I know its magnitude but it doesn’t define your life.
“I took a bad slam in my first run and was more conservative in my second run and nearly paid the price with that nervous wait.
“It means the world to be representing Team GB. I considered doing it at the last two Games and while I’m grateful for my years on the US, I’m excited to be doing this for Team GB and my mum.”
Header Image: Zoe Atkin during freeski halfpipe qualification training at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on the 17th February 2022 at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjakou, China. Photo by Sam Mellish / Team GB.