Sochi 2014, a photo retrospective
Kotsenburg ~ Slopestyle gold
Sage Kotsenburg made history by becoming the first gold medalist of the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the first gold medalist in slopestyle at an Olympics. That his slopestyle win made reporters worldwide lead their coverage with the words "Holy Crail," "Japan grab" and "rocket air" is why it will live on forever in snowboarding legend.
Sandbech ~ Sorsa
Norwegian slopestyle silver medalist Stle Sandbech has been growing his hair long for months now, in the event that he could do just this to it, should he make the Olympic podium. For those who don't know the reference, it's a shout out to Finnish snowboarder Heikki Sorsa, who competed in the 2002 Olympic halfpipe event with this same hairstyle.
Mark McMorris ~ Slopestyle bronze
No contest would be complete without a judging controversy, and men's slopestyle had it in spades. Heading into the Olympics, Canadian Mark McMorris was favored to win snowboarding's first slopestyle gold. An unfortunate accident at the X Games two weeks prior, which resulted in a rib fracture, left many wondering whether "McRib" (his new nickname) would even be able to ride in Sochi. McMorris scratched his way through qualifications and finals before putting down the run most thought would win the Olympics -- which included two solidly landed triple-corks. Unfortunately for McMorris, the judges didn't agree, and he went home with a still-respectable bronze.
Kotsenburg, Sandbech ~ Slopestyle
"We're really good friends," slopestyle gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg, seen here being hugged by an ecstatic Stle Sandbech, explained to a post-event news conference crowd. "We love each other. Oh, that's probably not a good thing to say here."
Jamie Anderson ~ Slopestyle gold
Jamie Anderson says she follows Norwegian snowboarders Torstein Horgmo and Stle Sandbech through slopestyle courses to get style inspiration. In turn, the Norwegians say Anderson has one of the most stylish front boards in the business. Jumps get a lot of attention in slopestyle, but this right here is one of the reasons Anderson won gold in Sochi.
Anderson, Jones ~ Slopestyle
"You could feel the Olympic press corp. falling in love with Jamie Anderson and Jenny Jones during the post-event press conference," ESPN's Alyssa Roenigk tweeted after the conclusion of the women's snowboard event. This particular moment came as Anderson and Jones were finding out how different their pre-contest routines were. Anderson spent the night before her historic win lighting candles and doing yoga, while Jones watched "Downton Abbey."
Jenny Jones ~ Slopestyle bronze
After winning multiple X Games slopestyle golds, Britain's Jenny Jones, 33, disappeared from the contest scene for a couple of years. The oldest competitor in the field, Jones threw her hat back into the ring in order to represent her country at the Olympics. Claiming bronze in the event, she became the first British athlete to win a medal at a Winter Olympics.
Shaun White ~ Halfpipe
Shaun White came to Sochi as a clear favorite to become one of the few athletes in Olympics history to win three golds in the same event. He posted the highest point score in the qualification round, with a halfpipe run that was textbook White. Unfortunately, as the event dragged on, and the pipe conditions deteriorated, so did White's run. He ended the night just off the podium, sitting in fourth place.
Iouri Podladtchikov ~ Halfpipe gold
I-Pod has been working hard to best White in the pipe, hit for hit -- including this massive backside air here, and the trick that won him the contest, the switch frontside double cork 1440, better known as the "YOLO flip."
Passing the torch ~ Halfpipe
Halfpipe gold medal winner Iouri Podladtchikov, left, gets a warm congratulations from 2006 and 2010 gold medalist and friend Shaun White. "Iouri deserves a big win like this. He's been pushing hard," White said in a post-event news conference. "It's nice to see someone else that's out there stepping it up and doing new tricks and pushing the envelope of what's possible in a halfpipe."
Danny Davis ~ halfpipe
Danny Davis is what they call "a snowboarder's snowboarder." He came into the Olympics hot off of an X Games win, bringing unique tricks to the halfpipe like his now-trademark switch method. His final run on Tuesday looked like a contender until slush gremlins in the less-than-stellar Olympic halfpipe grabbed his board as he made his way across the flatbottom, throwing him to the ground, and out of medal contention.
Ayumu Hirano ~ Halfpipe silver
Japanese 15-year-old phenom Ayumu Hirano just made the birthday/age cutoff to be Olympic eligible. He showed up at X Games Aspen as a rookie in 2013 and rode away with silver, and he did the same in Sochi. If you're wondering who will replace White, should El Rojo decide to quit snowboarding competitively, look no further than this pint-sized powerhouse.
Bright, Farrington, Clark ~ Halfpipe
After the U.S. shut out on the Olympic halfpipe men's podium, Twitter was aflame on Wednesday with news that the gold and bronze spots in the women's event were held by members of Team USA. Newly-crowned 2014 Olympic halfpipe gold medalist, Kaitlyn Farrington, is seen here in a champion sandwich, flanked by 2010 gold medalist, Torah Bright, and 2002 gold medalist, Kelly Clark.
Kaitlyn Farrington ~ Halfpipe gold
Kaitlyn Farrington didn't make the U.S. Olympic halfpipe team until the end of the qualifying series, but she hit her competitive stride just at the right time. Her winning run included tricks with a high degree of difficulty, like her switch backside 720 to backside 900 combo which she laid down perfectly on her final lap down the pipe. For those keeping count at home: Farrington's gold means Americans have won three of the past four gold medals and six of the past nine total medals in women's halfpipe.
Torah Bright ~ Halfpipe silver
Not only did Torah Bright make the finals of Sunday's slopestyle event, she took silver in women's halfpipe and will be racing in boardercross this weekend. She also managed to pay homage to fallen freeski pioneer Sarah Burke on the live broadcast without getting in trouble with the IOC. It is safe to say Bright is a bit of a hero in snowboarding.
Kelly Clark ~ Halfpipe bronze
With 70 career halfpipe wins to her credit coming into the Olympics, including seven X Games SuperPipe golds, Clark was the clear favorite to win a medal in Sochi. A difficult pipe made riding conditions tough, however, and after qualifying in the top spot, she was unable to put down the run she was looking for in the finals, and had to settle for bronze. This is hardly an unimpressive achievement. Clark is now the only snowboarder to have three Olympic medals -- she also holds a gold from 2002 and bronze from 2010 -- and is the only American to have won individual medals 12 years apart.
Sarka Pancochova ~ Slopestyle
Sarka Pancochova, right, crashed so hard during the women's slopestyle finals that she cracked her helmet. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, instead of going straight to the hospital from the event, the IOC made her stop and take a drug test first. Luckily, medical tests revealed no major damage. "However, we were a bit annoyed that Sarka had to go to doping control in such a difficult situation," Jaroslav Vetvicka, the Czech team doctor, told the WSJ. Despite the crash, Pancochova also competed in women's halfpipe on Wednesday. She made it to the semifinal round.
Guy In The Sky ~ Slopestyle
Action sports photography rules require a photograph to have three things, which are illustrated quite nicely here: a takeoff and landing reference, and the snowboarder must be grabbing his or her board. You can see from the position of the photographers camped out on the kicker, pointing their long lenses up at Brit rider Billy Morgan as he soars past, their photos will likely be what are called "guy in the sky" or "trampoline" shots. This, alas, is a tragic crime against style.