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China's Eileen Gu triumphs in halfpipe for third medal of Games

China's Eileen Gu triumphs in halfpipe for third medal of Games
Posted at 8:43 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 01:02:51-05

China's Eileen Gu straight-aired a victory lap in the women's freeski halfpipe final on Friday with tears of joy, wrapping up a purely dominating performance at the 2022 Winter Olympics by claiming her second gold and third medal of the Games.

The 18-year-old from San Francisco flexed on her second run with a near-perfect combination of tricks and outstanding amplitude, reaching nearly 14 feet above the 22-foot superpipe on an opening rightside cork 900 Buick grab before hitting back-to-back alley-oop flat spins to close for a 95.25.

RESULTS

"It has been two straight weeks of the most intense highs and lows I've ever experienced in my life," Gu said. "It has changed my life forever. The second I landed the last 16[20] in big air I knew my life was never going to be the same … never imagined that I'd walk away with another silver and another gold."

SEE MORE: Eileen Gu sends statement with near-perfect pipe final Run 2

The reigning world champion won last week's big air Games debut for gold, and followed up Tuesday with silver in slopestyle behind Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland. Friday's halfpipe gold made Gu the first to win three freestyle skiing medals at a single Games, and mirrored her results from the 2020 Youth Olympics.

Gu, who speaks fluent Mandarin, captured the event's overall World Cup crystal globe last month after an undefeated season, with wins at the Copper Grand Prix, back-to-back Calgary Snow Rodeo contests and the Mammoth Grand Prix.

SEE MORE: Eileen Gu puts down 'safety' run of 93.25 in halfpipe final

Two Canadians took silver and bronze: 2018 Olympic gold medalist Cassie Sharpe with a 90.75, returning from a 2021 ACL injury, and Rachael Karker with an 87.75, runner-up to Gu at the 2021 World Championships.

Americans Hanna Faulhaber, Brita Sigourney and Carly Margulies finished sixth, 10th and 11th.

SEE MORE: LIVE UPDATES: Women’s freeskiing halfpipe at the Winter Olympics

SEE MORE: How to watch Freestyle Skiing at the 2022 Winter Olympics on NBC and Peacock

SEE MORE: Women's Freeski Halfpipe Final