Sochi recap: Freestyle skiing, women’s moguls

The Canadian Dufour-Lapointe sisters are the moguls of women’s moguls. They finished 1-2, just ahead of defending champion Hannah Kearney.

Date: 8- Feb

Sport: Freestyle skiing

Event: Women’s moguls

Medalists: Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Canada), Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (Canada), Hannah Kearney (USA)

SportsMyriad projections: Hannah Kearney (USA), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Canada), Heather McPhie (USA)

How U.S. fared: McPhie, who had to get through a qualifying round in the morning, was unlucky 13th in the first round of the finals, missing out on Round 2. Kearney took a basic “survive and advance” approach in that first round with a good but not great run, good for seventh place. Then she blasted her way through the second round with a 21.93, best of the day so far. Eliza Outtrim went the other way — second in the first round, fifth of the six qualifiers (21.53) in the semis. She was a little shaky off the first jump in the final.

Heidi Kloser, sadly, couldn’t participate after a devastating knee injury in practice before Thursday’s qualifying.

Outtrim looked a little sluggish in the final and finished sixth. Kearney had a little bobble off the first kicker, and that was enough to deny her a repeat gold.

What happened: Did the sheer number of runs in one day overwhelm the field? Japan’s Aiko Uemura was quickly down the course in 30.46 seconds and opened the final with a 20.66, and then the next two (Outtrim and Australia’s Britteny Cox) failed to break 20.

That left the door open for two of the three Dufour-Lapointe sisters (Maxime was 12th in the second final) and Kearney. Justine was flawless, getting big marks in the air to take the lead with a 22.44. Chloe was only slightly behind, nearly matching Justine’s turns to get a 21.66. That guaranteed two podium places for the sisters.

It all came down to Kearney. She ripped down the course in 31.04 seconds, faster than either Canadian. Her air scores roughly matched Justine’s. But she was marked down on the turns, finishing third.

Quote: “I think I really gave it away is what I felt like. I felt like it was mine to ski for.” – Hannah Kearney

Full results

World Cup spring, USA vs. Maze: “I want that globe”

Slovenia’s Tina Maze has the overall World Cup Alpine title in hand, more than doubling her closest pursuer (2,254 points to 1,065 for Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch. The only suspense remaining in the women’s standings: Can Maze complete an unheard-of sweep of the globes handed out in each discipline?

Not if the U.S. Ski Team can help it.

After her slalom win Sunday, Maze leads in every discipline except downhill, where she’s only one point behind the injured Lindsey Vonn.  If Maze remains upright in the World Cup final, she’ll take that one. She already has the giant slalom in hand. If FIS still gave a trophy for combined, she’d have that one, too.

Giant slalom is almost in Maze’s hands. She leads Julia Mancuso by 55 points. Mancuso has to make the podium to have a mathematical chance. If Mancuso wins the final, Maze needs a top-five. If she’s second, Maze needs a top-10.

Mikaela Shiffrin is impressed. (Photo by Mitchell Gunn/ESPA via USSA)
Mikaela Shiffrin is impressed. (Photo by Mitchell Gunn/ESPA via USSA)

Then we have the showdown. Tina Maze vs. Mikaela Shiffrin, the teen phenom who gave up her slalom lead on Sunday. Maze now leads by seven points. It’s not officially winner-take-all — if both skiers miss the top places, Shiffrin will need a gap of two or three places to claim the title — but it’s close.

The word from this morning:

Meanwhile, in men’s Alpine, the USA officially won’t be walking away without any crystal globes. Ted Ligety has clinched the giant slalom trophy. That’ll happen when your season results are five wins and two third-place finishes in seven races. He also won the world title, of course, and he’s third in the overall World Cup standings with a career-high 922 points (620 in giant slalom).

First place will come down to a final week showdown between defending champion Marcel Hirscher (Austria) and 2007/2009 champion Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway).

In cross-country skiing, Kikkan Randall clinched the sprint season title with a split-second win over dominant Norwegian Maret Bjorgen. Margin of victory: 0.07 seconds. Can’t wait to see the video on that one. Randall also picked up some distance points this season and stands third overall.

Andy Newell is second in the men’s sprint standings, too far back to win but in good shape to stay in the top three.

In ski jumping, the U.S. men aren’t in the mix, but Sarah Hendrickson is on her way to finished second in women’s.

Nordic combined finds the USA still in transition after the big run up to Vancouver. No Americans have been in the World Cup top 10 since.

Freestyle skiing‘s overall trophy hardly matters. Everyone’s specialized, with FIVE events per gender in the Games now with the 2010 addition of skicross and the 2014 additions of halfpipe and slopestyle. Top Americans:

  • Hannah Kearney, first, women’s moguls
  • Torin Yater-Wallace, first, men’s halfpipe
  • David Wise, first, men’s halfpipe
  • Keri Herman, first, women’s slopestyle
  • Emily Cook, second, women’s aerials
  • Maddie Bowman, second, women’s halfpipe
  • Patrick Deneen, third, men’s moguls
  • Heather McPhie, third, women’s moguls
  • Bradley Wilson, fourth, men’s aerials
  • Dylan Ferguson, fourth, men’s aerials
  • Eliza Outtrim, fourth, women’s moguls

And the World Championships just wrapped up in Oslo. U.S. notes:

  • Women’s halfpipe: Bowman didn’t start.
  • Men’s halfpipe: Wise and Yater-Wallace 1-2.
  • Women’s moguls: Need you ask? Hannah Kearney. She was also third in dual moguls.
  • Men’s moguls: No medals in the traditional event, but Deneen was third in duals.
  • Women’s slopestyle: Herman wasn’t there; Grete Eliassen took third.
  • Men’s slopestyle: Thomas Wallisch first; Nicholas Goepper third.
  • Men’s skicross: John Teller third

Still two more weekends on the World Cup circuit, though, so we’ll hold off on the medal projections for now. Safe to say the USA will be expecting some hardware in Sochi.

In snowboarding, the medal projections are already up. We’ll revisit after X Games Tignes in late March. But worth noting: Even though U.S. snowboarders erratically participate on the World Cup circuit, they lead the freestyle disciplines: Scotty Lago and Kelly Clark (halfpipe), Chas Guldemond and Jamie Anderson (slopestyle).