Sochi 2014 - Women's Halfpipe Semifinals Report - Kaitlyn Farrington takes the win into the finals

TEAM AMERICA COMPLETE IN THE FINALS

Kaitlyn Farrington gets a good look in the mirror before she sets off
Kaitlyn Farrington gets a good look in the mirror before she sets off

The last Sochi semis (at least for Whitelines’ purposes) finished up and our new found favourite Kaitlyn Farrington qualified for the finals in first. She took the win with her first run and joins the rest of Team ‘Murica in the finals, dropping in with a 180 and starting it off with a switch back 7. With a couple of alley-oops and a Haakenflip in her trick bag she was by far the most entertaining to watch.

Team 'Murica is complete
Team ‘Murica is complete

And when I say by far, I mean by light years. In the second and third spots were two of the Chinese riders; Liu Jiayu and Li Shuang. It’s amazing to see some fresh faces in a snowboarding and the Olympics is about the only time we hear anything of the Chinese riders; for instance there’s only ever been one local in the Beijing Air & Style.

However, it has to be said that they’ve put on a pretty joyless performance in Sochi so far, the men getting heavily critisied – but bizarrely not marked down – for horrendous grabs in the finals yesterday; tindys, napans and tailfishes all present and accounted for.

Team China - clinical
Team China – clinical

Today hasn’t been much better; for some reason the Chinese coaches sent all their women down with the same stock run: backside air, back-to-back 540s into back-to-back 720s (so only spinning of the heels once) and finishing with a frontside air. No progression and boring, BOO! Plus a weird obsession with sticking their mitts in the camera at every opportunity; it worked for Cheryl Maas right?

Team China following Cheryl Maas' lead but not quite getting it
Team China following Cheryl Maas’ lead but not quite getting it

Thankfully though the rest of the qualifiers for the final impressed, Ursina Haller equaled her big bro Christian and made it through as did Meribelle Thovex for her second final. She is Candide Thovex’s sister after all, that’s some pedigree to live up to.

Meribelle Thovex made it through with some signature La Clusaz style
Meribelle Thovex made it through with some signature La Clusaz style

The last spot was taken by Rana Okada – the most fun name to say so far – so she will drop first in the finals. She showed some true J-Pan spirit and gave us a glimpse of her steeze, looking forward to seeing her in the finals.

Sadly the road to Sochi ended for six more riders, Sarka Pancochova and Alexandra Duckworth amongst the casualties. They were all gracious in defeat though, smiles all round.

Kaitlin Farrington, out but it ain't no thang
Kaitlin Farrington, out but it ain’t no thang

Shark Attack was probably the biggest shock so far, aside from Torah Bright no one splitting themselves between multiple events has done very well: Peet Piiroinen and Shaun White being other examples of perhaps spreading yourself too thinly.

Sarka Pancochova is so rad she doesn't even need lenses in her goggles
Sarka Pancochova is so rad she didn’t even need lenses in her goggles

Now we only have the finals to go. ‘Lympic fever has turned to cabin fever in Whitelines HQ, but we’re still stoked to see the battle of the Olympic veterans tonight. Tune into our live blog and follow it with us!

Women’s Halfpipe Finals

Rana Okada
Meribelle Thovex
Ursina Haller
Li Shuang
Liu Jiayu
Kaitlyn Farrington
Sophie Rodriguez
Cai Xuetong
Hannah Teter
Queralt Castellet
Torah Bright
Kelly Clark

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