There are several new sports that will make Olympic debuts next month in Sochi, but perhaps none are as visually spectacular as freestyle halfpipe skiing.
After 12 years in the X-Games, freestyle halfpipe skiers finally get to show the world on the biggest stage what their sport is all about.
“It’s pretty amazing that our sport is finally going to be in the Olympics,” said 2014 Olympian Maddie Bowman. “We finally get to tell and show people exactly who we are and what we do. It’s just awesome.”
“Everyone is super excited right now with going to Sochi and showcasing our sport for the first time,” said U.S. freestyle head coach Mike Jankowski. “I tell you what, our skiers are prepared and ready to take home those medals from Sochi.”
Flying up to 20 feet above the lip of the halfpipe, this brand new Olympic sport is highly competitive, but it’s also about the expression of airborne artistry.
“Our sport is so unique in so many ways,” said Bowman. “That’s what we really want to express to people. There’s a style element, there’s a technical element, and there’s amplitude.”
“For me, everything just kind of stops,” said Aaron Blunck. “Basically I drop in and I don’t even know what’s going on. I get done with the run, and I’m like, ‘Oh wow, that actually just happened.’”
Freestyle skiing is getting more and more extreme with the athletes pushing the boundaries with more dangerous and more spectacular tricks. It seems as though the sky is literally the limit.
“Ya, the sport is getting crazier and crazier,” said Blunck. “Everyone’s imagination is getting bigger and better.”
“Everybody is pushing the limits in their amplitude in some ways but also in the tricks that they’re doing,” said Jankowski. “They’re doing back to back combinations of big, difficult tricks, making sure they’re grabbing their skis. So, anything can happen here. They’re going to be pulling out all the stops.”