8 Questions With Kelly Clark—2002 Halfpipe Gold Medalist

What was the coolest, most memorable, or significant experience you had following your win in Park City?

It was cool to go home to Mt. Snow (Vermont) after the U.S. Open and to sense the excitement and support of my hometown. To be a part of something that inspired and encouraged people was pretty cool, too.

How has women’s pipe riding evolved since the last Olympics? Women’s riding has been progressing so much these last few years.

It’s been cool to be a part of it. Girls now are going bigger and throwing harder tricks. Most noticeable is the amplitude and style being included in all the tricks.

How has your personal riding changed since 2002? How are the run and tricks you’re working on now different from your winning run in Park City?

At the time, in Salt Lake, the run I did was the best run I could do: frontside 540, McTwist, and frontside seven. Now I have learned more tricks and improved on my style and amplitude—just matured the tricks I had and worked on some new things.

Who individually and which country represents the biggest competition for the 2006 halfpipe medals?

I think the U.S. has the most stacked field. There are some other countries that have some really good riders as well. For the guys, I think it’s Finland, and for the girls, it’s Australia and Norway.

Is there a particular trick that you think will separate riders in Bardonecchia, like, do you have to have a 900 to win? Or will amplitude play a bigger role?

It’s hard to say. I think a 900 for the girls will be standard, but you’ll need more than that to win. It’ll be a combo of big, linked tricks. By big linked tricks, I mean in amplitude and in technical aspects. I think a lot of riders will have some of the same tricks, but amplitude will separate it in the end. And whatever run it is, it will have to be clean, with no bobbles—the judges will be particular on that.

How will the experience from your first Olympics affect your preparation or tactics going into your second Olympics?

I’m excited to try to qualify again, and I’m glad to have been through it before. I think it’ll make things a bit easier for me knowing what I’m getting into before I get there.

What will be your last thought before dropping into the pipe for your Olympic run?

After I go over my run in my head, I’ll be praying.

Will you be listening to music? Do you know which song you will play?

I don’t know what song I’ll be listining to—I mix it up a lot.