Liveblog: Women’s halfpipe final

Will Canada’s Mercedes Nicoll soar above the Americans?


8:40 pm: Hey everybody. Twenty minutes to go. I’m still blown away by last night’s men’s final, aka the Shaun White show. But tonight could be even more exciting as there seems to be a real battle shaping up.

8:46 pm: Full disclosure. Before I became a boring business writer, I used to do a fair bit of snowboarding. But I have to say that the sport has really progressed since I hung up my Option board. So I apologize in advance if I miss some (all) of the tricks. Things were a LOT simpler back in the day.

8:49 pm: So, as I understand it, the U.S. thinks they can sweep the podium. And they do have four riders that are all very capable, including the defending gold medalist, Hannah Teter. Still, after watching some of the qualifying runs today, it looks like there could be some upsets in the works. Torah Bright of Australia did amazing and Canada’s Mercedes Nicolls snuck in during the semi finals. China’s Jiayu Liu also could be in the picture.

8:56 pm: Hmm…need to decide whether to watch NBC’s coverage or CTV’s. I noticed last night that NBC tended to cut away to commercials when the Americans weren’t riding, but their camera work was a lot better. But hockey is on CTV’s main channel right now, so I may have no choice.

9:00 pm: Going with NBC. They just said one of the riders that was supposed to be there was taken to the hospital. Here goes Swiss rider Ursina Haller. Not a bad run, but she’s going to need to go higher than that. She also hung on the lip on one of her airs. Score is pretty low.

9:02 pm: Next up. France. Sophie Rodriguez. 900 off the top. fakie air. And a little switch fakie grab at the end. Wow. That first 900 was pretty big on the replay.

9:04 pm: Here come the Americans. Elena Hight. I’m not sure I like the U.S. uniforms, with the plaid jackets and snowpants that look like jeans. Anyway. Big method. 900. Another 900 and a 720. Oh. She hit the top of the pipe.

9:13 pm: And we’re back. A little technical glitch there. China’s Jiayu Liu currently in first place.

9:14 pm: I like that the U.S. announcers don’t say the word “amplitude.” The Canadian announcers can’t seem to stop saying it. I have never heard any snowboarder talk about amplitude. Oh, another American is up. Gretchen Bleiler, silver medalist in 2006. Big 900. Backside 540. Followed by a huge inverted 720 — right to the flat bottom, unfortunately. Yikes.

9:17 pm: And Hannah Teter, also of the USA and defending gold medalist. Big backside air. 900. backside five . Another straight air. Some more stuff in between that I didn’t catch. Good clean run though…..and now she’s in first place with 42.4. I have no idea how they judge this stuff.

9:20 pm: And Kelly Clark, also of the U.S., who likes to sing on the platform while listening to her iPod. Big frontside air. Big 540 She’s going huge…but landed the last one in the flat bottom.

9:22 pm: Here comes Torah Bright, who apparently has been trying the double cork, which has apparently never been done in women’s competition. And…she went down on her third hit. She was amazing in the qualifiers though. She has a really smooth yet technical style.

9:24 pm: One other note on Clark’s iPod. I was never a big fan of listening to music while snowboarding. I always found it distracting. You’re on top of this beautiful mountain after all. Why do you need bring electronic toys with you? Plus my toque would push the earbuds into my ears, painfully. Maybe they’ve since worked that problem out.

9:27 pm: Just realized I missed Mercedes Nicoll during my technical problem. And now NBC is doing a promo for the U.S. snowboard team. Looking for Canadian coverage.

9:31 pm: No luck. I will hand it to the Americans though….they really have a way of making everything on TV look epic. They really know what they’re doing what it comes to that stuff.

9:33 pm: While we’re waiting for the second run to start, I would just like to say that the half pipe is huge.

9:35 pm: Anyone else think it’s creepy how they show the riders faces on that giant video screen?

9:36 pm: Torah Bright. Good run this time around with a switch backside 720. “insanely technical run,” says the announcer. That backside 7 was crazy…..She’s in first!!

9:37 pm: Gretchen Bleiler of the USA. Big 900 to backside 500. And a huge something or other!! Oh no. She hit the lip on the way down. That looked painful. I think she’s out.

9:39 pm: She is indeed out. And another commercial. I think it’s kind of lame that none of the Canadian channels are showing this. In a lot of ways, this is a better competition than the men’s was.

9:42 pm: Elena Hight of the US. Down half way through the run. So now the American’s have just two riders left. I guess there will be no sweep of the podium tonight.

9:43 pm: Singing Kelly Clark up again. I wonder what she’s listening to. Oh…she’s adjusting the iPod. I think she’s singing “Love me, you shall.”  Here she goes. Pretty good run with big 900 at the end, but she kind of lost momentum in the middle.

9:45 pm: I should have titled this blog post: Will Canada’s Mercedes Nicoll get any airtime on NBC? They just cut to commercial again. I mean, I can appreciate that four of the 12 riders are from the U.S., but maybe American viewers would like to get a glimpse of who they are competing against? This is brutal.

9:48 pm: Hey a non-American! Sun Zhifeng of China. She’s struggling, but landed everything. I like China’s non-crazy uniforms. Plain red.

9:50 pm: Mercedes is up!! Big 540…..oh no! She went out too far and fell into the bottom of the pipe on her next trick. Apparently, the best she can do is 6th. So Canada is out of medal contention.

9:53 pm: The riders are starting to go for it as they see their chances slipping away. France’s Sophie Rodriguez went for a 1080 right off the bat and crashed.

9:54 pm: China up again. Jiayu Liu. Huge backside method. And a huge 540. Backside 540, but she kind of messed up a trick in mid air.

9:55 pm: Now its Australia’s Torah Bright versus USA’s Hannah Teter for gold. Hannah is up. I really don’t like the fake jean snowpants, complete with rips. Gimmicky. She looks good on this run though. Big straight air. 900 and 540, but she’s really struggling to get out of the pipe by the end of the run. I think Torah has it.

9:56 pm: Yup. Teter Silver, Clark the bronze and Torah Bright of Australia gets the gold. She totally deserved it.

9:57 pm: And Bob Costas doesn’t hesitate to make a joke about a woman from “down under” that  “goes up and over ” in the halfpipe.   Anyway…thanks for tuning in. That was a lot of fun. Back to my day job.

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