Byrnes Wins Goodwill Games Halfpipe

Tricia Byrnes was having a tough time in practice yesterday. It was snowing and things just weren’t going right. But when it came to today’s finals under blue bird skies, calm winds, and temperatures in the teens, Tricia did what she’s done many times before. She laid down a run that the judges just couldn’t resist. With her usual mix of standard airs, good amplitude, and the 540, 360, Cab combo she rode into a 41.8.

“I was a little nervous,” said Byrnes. “I was a little shakier than Iwould have liked, but I’m really happy with my runs.”

Tricia’s first run score was nearly 10 points higher than the rest of the field for most of the first round. Snowmass Village’s Gretchen Bleiler was the only rider who got close with a 32.2. That was until Kelly Clark dropped in. The 16-year-old from Mt. Snow, Vermont rode with an aggression that had the Whiteface crowd jumping and screaming the whole run. Maybe winning the FIS Junior World Championships last week in Berchtesgaden, Germany gave her the confidence to commit. Kelly launched a big frontside air on the first hit, baubled a tailgrab and then got right back to business with an amazing method, a couple more straight airs and a 540.

“I had quite the wax job on,” said Clark. “I just let it go all the waydown the pipe. I took big angles and went as big as I could. The big thing was that the pipe was much faster today and I didn’t check my speed at all.”

US Team coach Pete DelGuidice was pretty happy about Kelly’s riding. “She’s a pretty good addition to the team, don’t you think,” he said at the top of the pipe.

In the second run Tricia couldn’t improve on her score to protect her lead and had to wait in the finish area for the rest of the riders to complete their second run.

Kelly Clark launched into her second run amped out of control. Throwing heavy metal salutes to the crowd as she dropped in she railed it from wall to wall and ended up smoothing over some of the problems she had in her first run. The judges upped her 1.5 points to 41.5, but it was just three tenths of a point shy of Tricia’s first run score.

Canada’s Kim Dunn turned up the volume in her second run with a backside 5 near the bottom of the pipe and upped her best score to 35.8.

American Kim Stacey had problems during the day. Her recently injured shoulder was giving her a lot of pain and on her first run she spun an alley-oop 5 and slid out right onto that shoulder. She was in tears when she finished her run. That didn’t keep her from making her second run, however, with another fall at the bottom of the pipe she couldn’t up her marks and finished in sixth.

Sophia Bergdahl, of Sweden, finished fifth.

1. Tricia Byrnes 41.8 40.7
2. Kelly Clark 40 41.5
3. Kim Dunn 30.8 35.8
4. Gretchen Bleiler 32.2 32.9
5. Sophia Bergdahl 32.8 32
6. Kim Stacey 31.8 26.5
7. Lori Glazier 28.6 31.5
8. Jenny Wiksten 31.3 14.6
9. Anna Olofsson 30.2 31.1
10. Josiane Bruneau 22.5 30.2
11. Candice Drouin 29 12.8
12. Rachel Nelson 25.6 28.7
13. Karolina Berglov 27.2 25.8
14. Stacey Burke 26.2 27.2
15. Amy Johnson 26.4 20.9
16. Maria Danielsson 25.3 24.9
17. Stephanie Gervais 25.1 22.7
18. Sandra Namd 24.7 17.7