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The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team will have incredible podium potential at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Overall, 10 sets of medals will be awarded in freestyle skiing, which includes five events for men and women – aerials, moguls, halfpipe, slopestyle and skicross.
At the Sochi Games, freestyle skiing events will be held at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, located west of the Rosa Khutor Plateau in the mountain cluster. The 8,000-seat facility was commissioned in 2012 for test competitions and will serve as a permanent venue for world-class events following the Games.
The U.S. women’s aerials team will turn to Ashley Caldwell for leadership and guidance. Seeking her second Olympic berth, Caldwell is an innovator for U.S. aerial athletes, and is all about pushing the envelope for women's aerials. Her knee injury has only made her more driven and determined as the Games approach. Also looking to return to the Olympic stage is 16-year veteran Emily Cook, who was on top of the World Cup podium in 2011.
On the men’s side, Dylan Ferguson utilizes a unique mix of traditional aerials with new-age freeskiing technique; his big air and tight twists are leading the way for the next generation of men's aerials athletes. Ferguson, along with fellow Olympic veteran Scotty Bahrke, are likely to be the leaders for Team USA in aerials.
The U.S. moguls team will enter the Sochi Games as one of the strongest in the world. Team USA proved its mettle by winning the 2012 Nations Cup title and is anchored by defending Olympic champion Hannah Kearney and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson. The team also features depth from World Cup podium finishers Heather McPhie, Pat Deneen, Jeremy Cota and Wilson’s younger brother, Bradley Wilson.
The remaining events – halfpipe, slopestyle and skicross – collectively make up the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assocation’s freeskiing discipline. Both halfpipe and slopestyle will be making their debut in Sochi, while skicross was introduced at the Vancouver Games. The U.S. continues to lead the freeskiing charge with new tricks and combinations at nearly every major competition.
Headlining the U.S. contingent in the halfpipe will likely be Devin Logan, Maddie Bowman and David Wise. Also poised to represent Team USA are slopestyle veterans Bobby Brown and Tom Wallisch, as well as rising star Emilia Wint, who is known for her progressive tricks.
In skicross, Team USA will look to a strong crop of Olympic hopefuls, including four-time World Cup medalist John Teller and World Cup standout Joe Swensson. X Games star Langley McNeal is poised to headline an all-star cast of U.S. female competitors in Sochi.
Athletes are eligible for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games if they earn one top-30 finish at a FIS World Cup or world championships event between July 1, 2012, and Jan. 19, 2014. Additionally, athletes must earn a minimum of 80 FIS points for halfpipe and skicross, and a minimum of 50 FIS points for slopestyle.
Team USA athletes are vying for 26 overall freestyle spots that are divided between halfpipe, slopestyle, skicross, moguls and aerials with a maximum quota of four starters in each discipline per gender. Aerial and moguls athletes may qualify for these slots through results on the FIS World Cup tour.
The Olympic selection criteria for freeskiing (halfpipe, slopestyle, skicross) will be approved in spring 2013. The 2013-14 U.S. Grand Prix will determine Olympic selection for freeskiing events.
||Sochi Test Event/FIS World Cup*
||Sochi Test Event/FIS World Cup^
||FIS World Championships
||U.S. Grand Prix*
||Copper Mountain, Colo.
||2014 U.S. Olympic Team announced^
||Lake Placid, N.Y.
||U.S. Grand Prix*
||Park City, Utah
|*Freeskiing only (halfpipe, slopestyle, skicross)
^Aerials and moguls only