Summit’s Taylor Gold uses unique style to advance to Olympic halfpipe finals
He’ll be joined by Americans Shaun White and Chase Josey
Breckenridge resident Taylor Gold dropped into the Olympic halfpipe at Genting Snow Park in Beijing late Tuesday, looking to continue his success this season.
Gold started off his success at the 2021 Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Resort, where he placed fifth, and then continued it at the 2021 Winter Dew Tour a few weeks later, where he was able to place second.
Gold’s second-place finish was noteworthy as he beat names like Yuto Totsuka, Ruka Hirano and Jan Scherrer, who are often heavy hitters.
After Winter Dew Tour, Gold did not compete again ahead of the Olympics. Instead, he traveled to popular halfpipe training spot Saas-Fee, Switzerland, in order to hone his tricks prior to the Games.
It appears the emphasis on extra training benefited Gold as he looked solid on both runs in the men’s snowboard halfpipe qualifiers.
Gold competed against 24 other riders in a two-run qualifier, in which the 12 best riders advanced to the final. Among the competition were fellow Americans Shaun White, Chase Josey and Lucas Foster.
On his first run of the day, Gold put on display his unique style. He flew up the superpipe wall to perform a Mctwist on his first hit, getting massive amplitude in the process. Gold then slung together a 1260, a double Michalchuk and a 1080.
He drifted to the bottom of the pipe clapping his hands and smiling in celebration. Gold’s performance garnered an 81.25, which gravitated him toward the top of the pack.
“Stomping the first run felt amazing,” Gold said. “Shaking those nerves off is not easy, so I’m psyched to set the tone with that.”
Gold was ranked fourth after the first round — in the running with Ayumu Hirano, Scotty James and Totsuka, who started off the competition swinging for the fences.
Foster, who is from Telluride, had a solid first run as well, performing a backside 540, a 1260 and a 900. Foster came down hard on his 1260; however, which caused him to wobble, affecting his score. Foster scored 42 on his first run to be ranked 13th in the round.
White, in his final Olympics, held nothing back on his first run as he executed on a frontside 1080, a 540 and another 1080. White also tried to perform his iconic double Mctwist 1260 but ended up falling on the side of the superpipe wall.
White received a score of 24.25, which visibly upset the five-time Olympian. After the first round of runs, White was ranked 19th, meaning he’d need a near-perfect run to advance to the finals.
Josey, who’s from Idaho, fell early in his first run to receive a score of 15.75.
On the second round of runs, the competition continued to heat up as top scores started to hit the low 90s.
Foster hit the lip of the halfpipe and went crashing down to the bottom, scoring 21.50 and missing the finals.
Gold did’t need to do anything special as he was already in the final prior to jetting down the superpipe for his final run. He completed the same run as his first but scored a few points higher, receiving an 83.5 to finish in seventh place in the qualifiers.
With his back against the wall on what could have been his final run as a professional snowboarder, White did what he does best: put together a near-perfect run.
White jumped to fourth place by scoring an 86.25 while performing a 1080, a 540, a double Mctwist and a backside 1260 with some major amplitude. Relief washed over his body as he reacted to his score.
Josey must have been inspired by his fellow teammates as he also put a strong last run together with a 1080, a switch 900 and a backside 900. Josey scored 69.50 to claim the last qualifying spot and join Gold and White in finals.
Gold, White and Josey competed in the halfpipe finals on Thursday.
When asked what he might add to his run in order to up his performance in the finals, Gold replied that the audience is “going to have to watch to see.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.
Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.
If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.