With a golden maple leaf emblazoned on the front of her mouth guard, Cassie Sharpe cruised to victory in the women’s halfpipe event, becoming Canada’s newest Olympic Champion and winning the seventh gold medal of these Games.
With high amplitude and smooth landings, the 25-year-old from Comox, BC was absolutely dominant in her Olympic debut, posting a 93.40 to win qualifications and a 95.80 in her second run of finals to capture the gold medal, besting her next competitor by more than three full points.
With first place locked up, Sharpe was able to use her third run as a victory lap, her goal after qualifications.
“I didn’t realize how emotional I was going to be at the top,“ commented Sharpe. “My coach Trennon hugged me and I was about to cry. It doesn’t feel real yet, but once I see my family and feel the love, it’ll sink in. So much hard work has gone into this, I’m elated.”
Although Sharpe didn’t have the chance to ski with women’s halfpipe legend the late Sarah Burke, she definitely acknowledges the role Burke had in her victory today.
“I wouldn’t even be skiing this pipe without Sarah,” commented Sharpe. “I definitely feel her legacy on this team and in the sport. To have the ability to carry on what she did is an honour. She’s always on our minds and she’s always with us.
Marie Martinod of France was successful in defending her silver medal from Sochi, capturing her second consecutive silver with a score of 92.60 and world number one Brita Sigourney of the United States captured the bronze medal with a score of 91.60.
This is Canada’s first medal in women’s halfpipe skiing since its admission into the Olympic program at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Sharpe’s teammate, two-time X Games gold medallist and halfpipe skiing legend Rosalind Groenewoud of Calgary, AB, managed to ski all three of her final runs clean, despite nursing a broken arm. The 29-year-old finished in 10th position with a final score of 70.60.
“In general, I’m just really happy to be here,” commented Groenewoud. “I’ve barely skied this season after I broke my arm this summer, so when I came back, my first few days were really challenging. But given that, there’s nothing embarrassing about a top ten finish at these Games – I’m going home grateful.”
The men’s halfpipe qualifications, the final event for Canada’s Olympic Freestyle team, will kick off later today at the Phoenix Snow Park. Team Canada is represented by defending silver medallist Mike Riddle, and teammates Noah Bowman and Simon d’Artois.