Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Though she needed an extra run just to have a chance, Kaitlyn Farrington outperformed a defending champion and two fellow Americans to grab gold on Wednesday in the women's halfpipe.
Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter figured to give the U.S. a solid chance of crowding the medal podium, but it was the 24-year-old Farrington that broke through in her first Olympic Games. After having the second-highest score of 85.75 following her first run in the final, the two-time X Games medalist impressed for a score of 91.75 on her second go-through to win gold.
Farrington's score was just .25 better than Australian and 2010 Vancouver Games gold medalist Torah Bright, who used her second run to earn silver after a bad landing toward the end of her first attempt damaged her initial score.
Teter was in position to take bronze with a first-run score of 90.50, but Clark unseated her for the medal as the last snowboarder to go in the second run. Clark put together a solid performance to earn a 90.75, rebounding after hitting the edge and crashing hard during her first attempt.
None were able to overtake Farrington, who just missed one of the three spots in the final handed out during the second heat of qualification. However, she punched her ticket to the final by posting the top score of 87.00 in the semifinals.
Clark and Teter clinched spots in the final in the qualification round. The 30-year-old Clark won halfpipe gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and took a bronze in Vancouver.
Teter was a silver medalist in this event in Vancouver and had captured gold in 2006.
American Arielle Gold was forced to withdraw from the event after suffering a shoulder injury during a warmup run on Wednesday. The 17-year-old Gold won halfpipe gold at the 2013 World Championships, but crashed while training prior to Wednesday's event.