Breck’s Herman wins historic Olympic slopestyle qualifier
U.S. Freeskiing’s Keri Herman, from Breckenridge, made history Friday with her FIS World Cup slopestyle skiing victory in Ushuaia, Argentina.
The event was the first qualifying event for the Sochi, Russia 2014 Olympic Winter Games, in which slopestyle and halfpipe skiing with make their debut. The next chance for athletes to qualify will be Jan. 11 during the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, which is part of the winter-long Sprint U.S. Grand Prix series.
An X Games silver medalist, Herman won by a massive six-point margin to mark her first podium in 2012. Her winning run included a clean double kink rail, frontside 270, switch cork 720 bro-kang grab, switch 540, and a 360 safety grab to a cork 540 mute grab.
Switzerland’s Eveline Bhend took second and Canadian Dara Howell came in third.
“This feels amazing and almost surreal,” Herman said. “It hasn’t quite clicked in yet because I am so far away from home. It’s been a great week in Argentina and I had some time to figure out what I needed to do to win and I did it. It’s exciting to be a part of the first Olympic qualifying event and this just inspires me to train harder and stay on the right path towards the Olympics.
“This really boosts my confidence and it feels so good to be here,” she continued. “I’ve been really impressed with the Argentinian people, they have been so supportive and psyched on freesking and it’s cool to see them get so into it.”
The top American male was McRae Williams (Salt Lake City) in eighth with Great Britain’s James Woods taking the win.
Slopestyle and halfpipe skiing were added in July 2011 by the International Olympic Committee. The Olympic qualifying period provides individual athletes with opportunity to achieve required international ranking in order to be eligible for Olympic selection. It also helps the U.S. team earn the maximum number of nation’s quota spots.
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