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Olympic women's snowboard halfpipe wraps up

Published On: Feb 12 2014 12:34:10 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 12 2014 01:01:52 AM CST
Kelly Clark, snowboard halfpipe qualifying, Sochi

Mike Blake/Reuters

American Kaitlyn Farrington bested a field that included the past three gold medalists to win the Olympic snowboard halfpipe competition Wednesday.

Australia's Torah Bright, the defending Olympic champion, finished with the silver medal.

Farrington's teammate Kelly Clark, the 2002 gold medalist, won bronze. Clark fell on her first run in the finals and couldn't quite climb over Bright and Farrington in the standings with her second run.

Hannah Teter, who won gold in the event in 2006 and silver in 2010, finished fourth.

The gold was the first Olympic medal for Farrington. The 24-year-old from Sun Valley, Idaho, competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics, but finished seventh in Vancouver.

Farrington won a bronze at the 2014 Winter X Games in superpipe to go along with the silver she won in the event back in 2011. The 24-year-old from Sun Valley, Idaho, finished the 2013 World Cup season fourth in the halfpipe standings, the same as her finish at the 2013 world championships.

She also came into the Olympics with a big victory under her belt, ending Clark's four-event winning streak with a first-place finish in the final event of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix series just before heading to Sochi.

After winning gold in her Olympic debut in Salt Lake City, Clark finished fourth in 2006 in Turin. She bounced back for a bronze medal in Vancouver four years ago. The bronze she won Wednesday, the third of her Olympic career, gives her more medals in women's halfpipe than any other competior.

Clark, a 30-year-old Vermont native, is also the four-time reigning gold medalist in SuperPipe at the Winter X Games and has medaled in the event seven years in a row and nine out of the past 12.

She also owns six Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix overall titles, is the reigning 2013 World Cup halfpipe champion and came into the Olympics atop the 2014 World Cup halfpipe standings.

Clark led the field in the qualifying round, scoring a 95 on her first run to advance to the finals. Teter, a 27-year-old Vermonter, also advanced directly to the finals from qualifying, while Farrington topped the field of 12 riders in the semifinals to become one of six to advance.

Rising 17-year-old star Arielle Gold injured herself on a practice run moments before the qualifying round got underway Wednesday and was unable to compete.

The Steamboat Springs, Colo., teen's 20-year-old brother, Taylor Gold, is also competing in the Sochi Games. She is hoping for a 2014 the likes of her 2013, which saw her win the 2013 Grand Prix overall title and the world championship in halfpipe.

The one letdown so far this year for Gold before Wednesday's injury, came at the 2014 Winter X Games, where she finished fourth in superpipe behind U.S. teammates Clark and Kaitlyn Farrington, who won bronze. In 2013, Gold had captured bronze at her first Winter X Games and duplicated that at the European X Games.

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