|(L-R) Arielle Gold (second), Kelly Clark (first) Hannah Teter (third) celebrate on the podium at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix on Dec. 6, 2014 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Copper Mountain, CO – The American riders put on an impressive early season showing at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix today, clinching five of the six podium spots. Veteran Kelly Clark led an American sweep on the women’s side and Taylor Gold taking home top honors for the men. This is the first year that FIS and the U.S Grand Prix tour have implemented a three run final and it proved to be the deciding factor for today’s men’s event. Second place finisher Yiwei Zhang’s third run earned him a 95, putting the Chinese rider in the top spot with just three riders to drop, including Gold. Ben Ferguson, who was the top qualifier in the event, outdid his first two runs with a 94. But it was Gold’s third run, complete with a frontside 1260, that would prove to be unbeatable. While these names are by no means new to the podium or the Olympic roster, it has been duly noted that the next breed of American male snowboarders has arrived on the scene, including fifth place finisher Chase Josey and fifteen year-old Jake Pates.
On the women’s side, no one has as much competition experience as veteran Kelly Clark which she continues to use to her advantage. Clark’s first run proved to be enough to win the contest, but she continued to push herself and the sport adding an inverted frontside 720 to a run that already included a frontside 1080, a trick few other women have landed. Arielle Gold rose to the occasion, putting down a both a frontside and Cab 900 in her run. Hannah Teter, who struggled to land on her feet in runs one and two, stomped a classic Teter run with a perfectly executed backside 900 on her last hit to complete the American podium sweep. Spain’s Queralt Castalet was absent from today finals after taking a hard fall in practice.
After today’s event, Americans Taylor Gold and Kelly Clark lead the FIS World Cup tour and Sprint U.S. Grand Prix tour standings. Be sure to watch the event tomorrow, Dec. 7th at 2:30 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Network
Taylor Gold, 1st Place, Men
I really loved the three run format. If it wasn’t for that last run I’d have been in trouble. I didn’t expect to win it today so that was an awesome surprise and good way to start the season.
Ben Ferguson, 3rd Place, Men
Today went well, I just wanted to go have fun and land a run today and I got third so it went well. I’m stoked.
Kelly Clark, 1st Place, Women
The pipe was really good today and I love the three run format. I was happy to come out and land my first run and build on my riding throughout the day. I thought all the ladies rode really well and it makes me excited for the rest of the season seeing what everybody’s already putting down.
Arielle Gold, 2nd Place, Women
It was awesome to come out here today and put the two nines together in a run, definitely not something that I usually do. I wanted to come into this season and just start off on a good note. Hopefully that means it’s going to be good for the rest of the season too.
Hannah Teter, 3rd Place, Women
Today started off a little on the wrong note, I fell on nearly every practice run, so I decided to take a moment and get my stuff together. And thank goodness we had a third run because it all clicked on that third run.