Hoefflin wins ski slopestyle ahead of teenage YOG star
Sarah Hoefflin from Switzerland won the women’s ski slopestyle at PyeongChang 2018, while former Winter Youth Olympic Games competitor Mathilde Gremaud, also from Switzerland took silver at Phoenix Snow Park. Isabel Atkin from Great Britain claimed bronze.
Hoefflin was the second-oldest athlete in the event but does not have as much experience as most of her competitors. She took up freestyle skiing only after she didn’t get into medical school. The 27-year-old’s only other major medal in the sport came in 2018, at the Aspen Winter X Games. Her winning score at PyeongChang 2018 was 91.20, which came on her third and final run.
Gremaud, who is just 18, competed at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016. She claimed silver at PyeongChang 2018 with a score of 88.00 and became the youngest medallist in freestyle skiing in Olympic Winter Games history, breaking the record of Yelizaveta Kozhevnikova (EUN) who was 18 years and 48 days old when she won silver in the women's moguls in Albertville 1992.
Atkin, 19, has also competed in snowboard slopestyle at the world championships, and was second in ski slopestyle at the Aspen X Games. She produced a clean final run in PyeongChang to score 84.60 and claim bronze ahead of Maggie Voisin (USA) (81.20).
Swiss prideIt was Switzerland's first one-two finish in an event at a Winter Games since Turin 2006, when Philipp Schoch and Simon Schoch crossed the line in first and second in the men's snowboard parallel slalom. Hoefflin was ecstatic to share the podium with her compatriot at PyeongChang 2018.
“I wasn't really expecting too much, but I think the best thing about today is I managed to step on the podium with my teammate [Gremaud]. That was a dream,” said Hoefflin. “We saw each other (between the runs) and I was congratulating her the whole time, because she has come back from an injury [Gremaud recovered from concussion following an accident in training days earlier] and she has had a really tough start to the year. She was the one who totally inspired me to do the switch double nine.
“I really wanted to land [that trick],” continued Hoefflin of her final run. “That's all I cared about. I just had that trick in mind before my third run. It worked and I'm happy. I don't have many words right now, I'm just so happy it went well.”
New generationYoung medallists Gremaud and Atkin were both delighted with their respective podium finishes. “It's incredible,” said Gremaud. “When I was a kid I was always watching the Winter Olympics and it was a dream. Now it's reality. I was really excited. I was thinking maybe I'll get a high score and get a good position. I was just hoping to get something high.”
“I'm just speechless, added Atkins who produced her best-ever performance, and became only the second Brit to win a medal in a snow event at an Olympic Winter Games, after Jenny Jones who won bronze in the snowboard slopestyle in Sochi four years ago. “I really just wanted to put down a run that I was proud of, and I can't believe it. I skied one of the best runs that I've ever done.”