Frozen facts: 14 things you need to know about Olympic snowboarding halfpipe
Jan 15, 3:15pm EST
Snowboarding halfpipe will be making its fifth appearance at the 2014 Sochi Games. From the early days when the U.S. was first establishing its dominance to the present day field full of medal hopefuls from all over the globe, here are 14 facts to know about snowboard halfpipe entering the 2014 Winter Olympics.
1. The American Super-Powers
In the Olympic debut of halfpipe at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, Ross Powers captured a bronze medal for the U.S. in the men's event. The U.S. also won bronze in women's halfpipe thanks to Shannon Dunn. The U.S. was not a powerhouse in the competition yet though, as a pair of international competitors, Switzerland’s Gian Simmen and Germany’s Nicola Thost, earned the first gold medals ever awarded in men's and women's halfpipe, respectively.
2. Kelly Clark kicks it off
18-year-old Kelly Clark nabbed the first American gold medal of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics with a victory in women's halfpipe. In the 12 years since Salt Lake, Clark has continued to win contests with astonishing frequency, but has yet to repeat the feat of winning an Olympic gold medal. She won bronze in 2010.
3. A clean sweep
Beginning a streak of dominance from American snowboarders, the U.S. swept the podium in men's halfpipe at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. Left to right: Danny Kass (2nd), Ross Powers (1st), JJ Thomas (3rd). Despite the United States' significant edge in the all-time medal count for halfpipe, this still remains the only American sweep in the event at the Winter Olympics.
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4. Teter-ing on the edge of gold
Hannah Teter became the second straight American to win gold in women's halfpipe in 2006 at Torino. American Gretchen Bleiler (2nd place) joined her teammate on the podium, while Kelly Clark (4th) narrowly missed out on making it a U.S. sweep. To this day, the U.S. has yet to sweep the women's halfpipe podium despite consistently fielding a deep and talented roster.
5. White is the new gold
At the 2006 Torino Games, Shaun White won his first Olympic gold medal, helping catapult him to stardom. His American teammate Danny Kass joined him on the podium with a silver medal for the second year in a row.