Canada dominates again in Olympic freestyle skiing

Feb. 11, 2014 at 7:13 AM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Dara Howell kept Canada perfect in Olympic freestyle skiing Tuesday, winning the first women's slopestyle event conducted at a Winter Games.

Canadians captured both the gold and bronze medals in the event despite the absence of Canada's medal favorite Kaya Turski, who fell during both of her runs during qualifying early in the day. Turski had won slopestyle gold four times at the X Games.

There were a dozen competitions added to the Olympic program this year with slopestyle gold medals being handed out to men and women for the first time in both snowboarding and freestyle skiing.

The dangerous jumps, spins and flips that snowboarders were doing on the slopestyle course earlier in the week were repeated Tuesday, but this time there were skis under the competitors' feet rather than a snowboard.

Howell, who won a silver medal in the event at last year's world championships, had the best score in qualifying and then all but clinched the gold medal with a point total of 94.2 in the first of her two runs in the finals. The best of the two efforts is the only one that counts in the race for the medals.

Devin Logan of the United States won the silver medal with a score of 85.4 achieved on her second run and Canada's Kim Lamarre took the bronze at 85. Lamarre wiped out in her first run, but came back with a medal effort to deny fourth-place Anna Segal of Australia.

The new-wave disciplines involved in freestyle skiing, which first appeared with the moguls competition at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, have been dominated thus far at these Games by Canada.

This was the third of the 10 freestyle skiing competitions that will be held in Sochi and Canadaian skiers have won all three. In addition, Canada has collected six of the nine overall medals awarded in the sport.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe won the women's moguls for Canada and Alex Bilodeau captured the men's moguls gold for the second straight Olympics.

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