Kelly Clark celebrated her halfpipe win in the Olympic test World Cup in Sochi. (Getty Images/AFP)
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (Feb. 14) - Olympic champion Kelly Clark (W. Dover, VT) took a dominating win under the lights at a challenging event in the Sochi Olympic halfpipe. Clark won with an 88.25 on her first run in the FIS Snowboard World Cup. Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) finished third in men's behind Japan's Taku Hiraoku. It was the first World Cup in the Sochi halfpipe at Rosa Khutor near Krasnaya Polyana in the mountains outside of Sochi.
Kelly Clark (W. Dover, VT) soared to a win in the Sochi Olympic halfpipe winning a FIS Snowboard World Cup.
Clark posted an 88.25 on her first run to take a dominating win over Australia's Holly Crawford.
Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) put down a strong first run and that held for third.
Warm temperatures on finals day caused great difficulty for athletes with bumps and ruts developing in the softened base and transition impacting speeds.
Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, CA) led his qualifying round but had issues with speed and fell on both runs. Louie Vito (Sandy, UT) had great amplitude but also struggled with the slow conditions.
Elena Hight (Mammoth Lakes, CA) attempted her double but couldn't quite take it to her feet. Ellery Hollingsworth (Darien, CT) landed a big cab 1080, a first for her in competition, but fell on her last hit. Arielle Gold (Steamboat Springs, CO), last week's Burton European Open champion, fell both runs.
Kelly Clark run: frontside air, backside 540, frontside 1080, cab 720, frontside 540, backside air.
Scotty Lago run: frontside 1080 double truck driver grab, cab 720, frontside 900 rocking air, backside 900, method to a frontside 720.
QUOTES Kelly Clark It was challenging this week due to the warm weather, but the event organizers made the right call to make practice at the right time and did their best to maintain the conditions. I'm pleased with how the event went tonight for me and, realistically, moving forward this could be a similar situation next year. So I chalk it all up to experience and I am happy with my riding.
I definitely wanted to land my second run with my 9, but the pipe has been a bit verty for some of my tricks and I made the right call during my first run that was a little mellower, but I am looking to add some tricks to that run for next year.
Next year a lot depends on the weather and conditions, getting the right people cutting the pipe and maintaining it will set us up for success. I look at every event I do and I know I can be in great situations and not so great situations come next year so I look for opportunity in everything. Tonight was a classic example, I had the worst practice I had since I could remember, but honestly that's what can happen next year. I look for the good in every opportunity and tonight was no exception, but I am pleased with my riding and a win at the Olympic venue.
It was my first run score that held up for me. I feel guilty because it was not the best that I could do and wanted to do. It was kind of a safety run. It got me on the podium and I am happy about that. So far the last three contests I have had podiums and I am really pleased with that, I am starting to become consistent. It feels great to ride the Olympic pipe and a visual on the pipe is real helpful. It's super bright with the lights too. They do have a little work to do with the halfpipe, it's pretty soft here, but all in all a successful event and I am happy to have ended up on the podium.