Mike Riddle wins silver in men's ski halfpipe
American David Wise takes gold
Edmonton freestyle skier Mike Riddle won silver in the men's halfpipe in Sochi on Tuesday.
Gold went to American skier David Wise, while the bronze went to French skier Kevin Rolland.
Wise threw down the highest score of the day, a 92 out of 100, in his first run in the finals. Nobody else could touch that under snowy conditions that made things difficult for competitors — the snow was so bad at times that it was hard to see the top of the halfpipe from the bottom, where the judges sit.
But Riddle came closest with a 90.6 on his second run.
"It's unbelievable," Riddle said. "I put down a good run in what were difficult conditions. I knew I had a chance."
"I have never done that combination before, back to back (double-corked) 1260s, but I decided it was a good time to do it for the first time."
Wise came into the Olympic Games with three straight X Games titles under his belt in the event, so he was considered a heavy favourite.
"I had all these crazy amazing runs that I wanted to do here at the Olympics but if you can't get the speed you can't do the tricks that you want to do," Wise said of the snowy conditions.
Another Canadian, Justin Dorey, was also thought to be a medal contender after being ranked 1st in the world cup rankings coming into Sochi.
He was the first to ski after Wise's monster run and he appeared to be gunning to keep up with the impressive score. He was doing fine until about two-thirds of the way through his attempt when he landed hard after getting huge air on a jump, and wiped out.
Wise admitted after the race that he was nervous to watch as talented a skier as Dorey go out right after him with a chance to beat him. "I knew the right-side double cork was something that was definitely there and he had it to boost the score up," Wise said. "Just watching him skiff out, all this relief flooded over me."
Dorey's second attempt was no better, and he finished in 12th place. Wise also flubbed his second attempt, but it didn't matter because his first was so dominant.
Another medal hopeful, American Lyman Currier, was injured in qualifying and seemed to be in quite a lot of pain, lying on the snow and clutching his knees screaming after crash-landing a jump.
Currier made it off the course under his own power, but his Olympics are over.
Two other Canadians competed. Penticton, B.C.'s Matt Margetts came in 15th place in qualifying and did not make the final 12. Calgary's Noah Bowman placed 5th after earning his spot in the final.
"I wanted to show you more, I'm sorry," Bowman said at the bottom of the half-pipe, after his run was over. "Thank you."
It's the first time the event was contested in the Olympics, so Wise is the inaugural champion.
With files from Olympic News Service