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Three Americans advance to men's freeski slopestyle final

Three Americans advance to men's freeski slopestyle final
Posted at 6:53 AM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 07:53:07-05

Three Americans will compete in the men’s freeski slopestyle final after the qualifying runs on Monday.

Colby Stevenson, Alex Hall and Nick Goepper all had strong first runs, good enough to place in the top 12 slots to move on to the final round as the United States seeks to sweep the podium like it did at the 2014 Winter Games. Skiers had two runs, with only the top score counting.

Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli, the reigning world champion, and the Netherlands’ Birk Ruud, who won gold in big air earlier in the Olympics, finished in the top two slots.

The fourth American, Mac Forehand, failed to qualify after struggling with his balance on his first run and fell on his second jump of the second run.

The final takes place Tuesday evening at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Geopper — seeking his first gold in this event after winning bronze in Sochi and silver in PyeongChang — finished third in qualifying with a score of 82.51. He is the only athlete with two medals in slopestyle. Goepper’s first run featured creativity along the rails when he jumped on top of the shred set on the first rail.

The 27-year-old Indiana native told the NBC broadcast that there are “plenty of sheds in the Midwest.”

“That’s my favorite feature on the course,” Goepper said. “It feels really cool getting up there and spinning off that thing.”

Goepper added that he’s at the top of his game both physically and mentally.

Hall also had a unique jump on his first run that got him into the final. The 23-year-old jumped onto the center of the “matrix” and landed with a switch 540 to help him notch a score of 79.13 for fifth place.

Hall said on the broadcast that he came up with the idea the first day he showed up at the course. He’s done similar tricks before, and thought it would be fun to try it out.

“It’s just nice to have a different approach than most of the other guys,” Hall said. “It’s really fun for me too. Whatever I can do to keep it fun.”

Stevenson, who finished sixth, said his first run – which featured a 1260 and then back-to-back 1440s – “wasn’t his best work” but good enough for a 78.01. But he told the broadcast after his second run that he would love to ride the course in the final Tuesday because it will be “fresher and not as icy.”

The 24-year-old from Park City, Utah, is coming off a silver medal in big air and said that whatever happens in slopestyle is just icing on top of the cake.

“I was so nervous for this qualifier today, man,” Stevenson said. “After the big air performance, I'm on top of the world. I couldn’t really be happier. Whatever happens is what’s meant to be. I already got some hardware. Just out here having fun.”

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