Double or nothing: Sochi 2014 women’s Olympic slopestyle outlook
Women continue to progress slopestyle at their own pace with riders like Austria's Anna Gasser pushing the limits as she tried a Cab double cork during her run at the 2014 X Games. Then there's US rider Jamie Anderson who also tried to step things up when she went for a Cab 900 at the final Mammoth Grand Prix stop. Breakthrough tricks from Anna and Jamie may be on the verge, but the most tangible advances we've seen so far are the addition of double 720s to the ladies runs.
On the rail front, Jamie and Canadian Spencer O'Brien have some of the more technical rail tricks like backside lipslides and boardslide 270s out, but for the most part there are a lot of 50-50s and boardslides going down in the women's field.
As for the favorites in women's slopestyle has been the one to beat heading into Sochi. She took three back-to-back wins at the Mammoth Grand Prix stops and, among the American field at least, her switch backside 540 to backside 540 to Cab 720 combo have been pretty unstoppable. Jamie's winning streak came to an end however when Norway's Silje Norendal bested her at the 2014 X Games with a run that included a frontside 720 rodeo and a Cab 720. From rails to jumps, few women ride as smoothly or with as much confidence as Jamie, but riders like Silje, and Canada's Spencer O'Brien both have two 720s in their runs, which could force Jamie into a situation where she needs to land a nine to win.
Jamie’s winning run from the 2013 Dew Tour
Silje’s winning run from the 2014 X Games
Compounding Jamie's problems are Austria's Anna Gasser who tried the first Cab double cork at the 2014 X Games and just came up short. If Anna can pull that trick off--a first for women's competitive riding--it will likely mean she strikes gold. Rounding out of the international quest for precious metals via double flip is New Zeland's Christy Prior who's been know to toss a double wildcat. She hasn't landed one in competition yet, but she's got it in her stable. And don't forget about Switzerland's Sina Candrian, one of the few women to land a frontside, and who has tried one competition. Although she hasn't landed it in a run yet she's come close.
Anna Gasser’s run from the 2014 X Games with the attempted double cork
With so many women so close to landing new contest tricks we could easily witness the next step in women's riding when the ladies take to the course for finals at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 9.
TWSNOW lands in Sochi on February 4. Stay tuned for full coverage of the slopestyle and halfpipe events, plus daily blogs.
Rider outlooks and potential downfalls coming soon.