At her second Olympics, Arielle Gold achieves dream by dropping in for first time
Steamboat Pilot and Today
BOKWANG PHOENIX PARK, South Korea — It took two trips to the far side of the world over a span of four years, dozens of key competition runs and countless hours of training, but Monday it finally happened for Steamboat Springs halfpipe snowboarder Arielle Gold.
Officially a two-time Olympian, Gold was injured in 2014 before her event. This year, the Breckenridge resident actually competed in the Olympics.
It came down to a “survive and advance” philosophy for Gold in the women’s snowboard halfpipe qualifying event at the 2018 Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in South Korea, but she did, indeed, advance.
She placed 12th in qualifying when only 12 athletes advanced.
“I was definitely pretty nervous. I wanted to land that first run so it was a bit of a stressful situation to not quite put that down,” Gold said.
Given just two opportunities to land a run, Gold missed on the first and dialed her run way back to ensure she got through on the second.
Where she’s typically been doing at least one 900 in her qualifying runs, and seen a big boost in her qualifying scores because of it, she opted for a pair of 720s and a Michalchuk on her second attempt.
“It’s just a balance between trying to be smart and trying to put in as much as I need to to get in,” she said. “Those tricks I did, that would be enough to get me through.”
She wasn’t the only one. Kelly Clark also didn’t land her first jump and was forced into putting together a very safe run on her second to ensure she advanced.
The rest of the U.S. contingent had no such troubles. Chloe Kim, 17 years old and the gold-medal favorite, rocked her first run, then did even better on her second, finishing with a score of 95.50, the top mark of the round.
Maddie Mastro was fourth after she put down a clean first run that scored 83.75.
Clark’s second run scored 63.25 and Gold’s was 62.75.
Neither left much room for error. Gold was 11th after her run with a dozen riders still to go.
It amounted to the weaker end of the field and only one rider slipped in ahead of her, but if one more had been struck by a good day, she’d have been watching in the finals rather than riding.
“It’s just a balance between trying to be smart and trying to put in as much as I need to to get in,” Gold said. “I felt with those tricks I did, that would be enough to get me through.”
It was a welcome turn from Gold’s experience at the 2014 Winter Olympics when she was injured while training moments before the start of her event.
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