Sochi's 2014 Olympic showdown will showcase the last three Olympic gold medalists in women’s halfpipe and their quests for double gold. Torah Bright, Kelly Clark, and Hannah Teter will be the ones to watch Wednesday night in Rosa Khutor's halfpipe, along with a handful of rookie upstarts looking to upset their queendom. Here's the breakdown on who to watch.
Kelly Clark, USA
Two-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark (gold in 2002, bronze in 2010) is definitely the one to beat in Sochi. Known for her crowd-wowing amplitude and first-hit frontside 1080, Clark could easily add another gold medal to her trophy case. As the winningest woman in snowboarding history, with more than 80 victories to her name, Sochi will be hers to lose.
Torah Bright, AUS
A triple threat in Sochi—competing in slopestyle, snowboard cross, and halfpipe—Torah Bright, the defending 2010 Olympic gold medalist, could easily make back-to-back wins a reality in Sochi. Known for her unmatchable technical combinations of switch spins, large airs, and frontside and backside inverts, Bright's got all the makings of a top-of-the-heap finish. While she doesn't have the stack of recent podiums that the other riders possess, she did win the season opener at the Dew Tour and knows how to perform under Olympic pressure.
Hannah Teter, USA
Hannah Teter has Olympic mojo. In the four years between each Winter Games, we rarely see a podium result from her, yet come Olympics time Teter digs deep into her bag of tricks and puts together medal-worthy runs. Look for those classic big Teter airs with stylish grabs combined with a brand-new backside 900 tail grab and a huge frontside 900.
Honorable Mention: Queralt Castellet, ESP
This pint-sized Spaniard, known for her amplitude and heavy-duty rotation, has a frontside and backside 900 and is the only other rider to consistently land a frontside 1080.
Honorable Mention: Arielle Gold, USA
Olympic rookie Arielle Gold is one of the younger riders looking to get into the mix. She's got a rock-solid frontside 900 grabbed all the way around, which, if she can pair it with a rarely seen Cab 900, might give her a podium-landing run.
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