Day eight brought near perfect conditions for the women’s slopestyle competition at Bokwang Snow Park, where two-time Olympian Yuki Tsubota finished in sixth position amongst a field of strong international skiers.
The 24-year old from Whistler, BC was a model of consistency in today’s competition, performing all but one of her runs cleanly, with a variety of spins and grabs in the rail section and smoothly styled jumps. She would qualify to finals in 10th position with a score of 78.20 and finish the competition in sixth position with a score of 74.40, her second consecutive sixth place result at an Olympic Games.
As the highest ranked skier of Team Canada’s women’s slopestyle contingent, Tsubota was the lone Canadian to qualify for finals, a testament to how much the skiing talent has increased since the sport’s debut at the 2014 Sochi Games.
“I’m super happy, qualifying was the big obstacle today,” commented Tsubota. “Everyone has stepped up their game, it’s a lot tougher to make it. All the girls here had a chance to win this contest, it was anyone’s game. A lot of good girls didn’t even make it to finals today.”
Swiss skier Sarah Hoefflin won the event with a score of 91.20, achieved on her third and final run. Teammate Mathilde Gremaud’s first run score of 88.00 withstood the contest to win her the silver medal. Isabel Atkin of Great Britain landed three clean final runs, securing the bronze medal on her third run with a score of 84.60.
Tsubota’s teammates, defending Olympic gold and bronze medallists Dara Howell of Huntsville, Ontario and Kim Lamarre of Lac Beauport, Quebec, were unable to land clean runs in the qualification round and subsequently failed to advance to finals. They finished 21st and 22nd, respectively.
“I worked really hard to get back here, and it’s obviously not the result that I wanted, but I’m grateful for this experience,” commented Howell. “I have a lot of people here who care for me, I’m forever grateful to all of them; my family, friends and coaches have never given up on me. Their support means a lot.”
“I skied my heart out today, which I’m really proud of,” commented Lamarre. “It was a big bummer to land everything clean up until the last jump in my first run. I thought my rail sections were original and creative; it was just my jumps that didn’t go well. I just came up a little short.”
The Canadian women’s slopestyle team will resume their season, heading to Italy in mid-March for the next stop on the FIS World Cup Tour.