Canada's Cassie Sharpe wins gold in Olympic freeski halfpipe

Sharpe and O'Brien advance to finals in Pyeongchang

Sharpe's second run of 95.80 was more than enough to defeat France's Marie Martinod and American Brita Sigourney, who completed the podium places in a final that went pretty much to form.

Comox skier Cassie Sharpe dazzled with a first place finish in the qualifying run at women's halfpipe.

The American won the inaugural women's halfpipe gold at Sochi 2014 but failed to put down a run in the Pyeongchang final.

"The first run, I wasn't expecting that at all", she said.

Martinod walked away from the sport at the age of 22 to start a family but credits Burke with persuading her to return to competitive skiing.

She'd talked about the possibility of that victory lap a day earlier, confident she could repeat her qualifying success.

Sigourney, 28, laid down a pair of identical 90.60 scores on her two runs.

The ritual calms her down and pumps her up, and preceded a dazzling show in the Olympic final Wednesday, as the 25-year-old picked up the torch left by the late Canadian star Sarah Burke and carried it into the future.

"We saw lots of tricks, lots of amplitude and that is exactly what she was fighting for". She struggled through her runs, including crashing near the end of the third one after a solid performance during the run.

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Competing in her second Olympics, Groenewoud was able to secure her spot in Pyeongchang based on her results from the 2017 season. "I fell, but I didn't just give up the run".

"At the point, I'm like, "oh my God stop hugging me" because I'm going to cry and I need to focus and reel into this", she said.

"I chose to go for it and I wasn't going to hold back".

"On my first run I just really wanted to land, that's like my biggest thing for my confidence", said Sharpe.

Maddie Bowman, the 2014 Sochi gold medalist, had a chance for glory.

Sigourney, Bowman and Logan train in Park City, Utah. Sharpe had only met Burke in passing, but she, like every woman on the halfpipe, is well aware of what the world champion and four-time Winter X Games champion did for their cause.

"Anna made me nauseous to my stomach before I dropped", Sigourney said. "And I wouldn't say that she has any failures, but I think that the successes are that much more awesome when she experiences them".

Martinod, a longtime friend of Burke's who was lured out of possible retirement by Burke when halfpipe entered the Olympics, threw down a 92.60 on her second run.



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