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American women win two halfpipe medals

Just one day after the American men were shut out of the medals’ presentation in the halfpipe on Tuesday, American women earned a gold and bronze in the same event.

First, you go down the pipe.
First, you go down the pipe.
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Kaitlyn wins halfpipe
Kaitlyn wins halfpipe
Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

American Kaitlyn Farrington posted a score of 91.75 during her second run, just good enough to beat Australian Torah Bright's 91.50. American Kelly Clark, who smacked the wall hard during her first run of the finals, recovered to earn bronze and win her third Olympic medal.

Farrington spent most of her pre-Olympic training playing second-fiddle to Clark, the 2002 Olympic champion. After the first round of the finals, she was second, behind teammate Hannah Teter. Then, Farrington connected a backward 720-degree (2 turn) spin with a backward 900-degree (2½ turn) spin, one of the most technically demanding sequences of the night.

Clark is considered the most physically gifted rider in the world, with an ability unparalleled among women riders to get the speed and air time necessary to complete the most dangerous tricks. However, Clark endured a rare miscue in her first run that left her aching. She was about halfway through her routine when her back slammed into the edge of the pipe. She finished, but it put tremendous pressure on her as she stood atop the hill for her second run. Her final run was clean except for a split-second case of the wobbles.

With the addition of these two medals, America remains tied with Russia at 4th in the medals standings.