Devin Logan competes in the women's halfpipe skiing qualifying at at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on Dec. 6, 2017 in Copper Mountain, Colo.
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. — At the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Devin Logan would like two chances to prove her older brothers wrong.
The 2014 Olympic slopestyle skiing silver medalist wants to qualify for PyeongChang in two events: halfpipe and slopestyle. “The best of both worlds,” she has said.
She made a step in that direction today, finishing second at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix — the second halfpipe Olympic qualifier — with a score of 79.60. French freeskier Marie Martinod, who has won just about every competition in the past year, was again on top of the podium with her first of three runs scoring 83.00. China’s Kexin Zhang with a 77.60 rounded out the podium.
The top American skiers qualified for the finals, with 2014 Olympians Annalisa Drew (77.20), Maddie Bowman (77.00) – the defending Olympic gold medalist – and Brita Sigourney (75.80) finishing 4-6, with teammate Carly Margulies (69.00) in seventh.
“It’s definitely a little cutthroat, but it’s good,” said Logan. “We inspire one another. We got some heavy hitters, so I’m happy I got one under my belt and just use that confidence rolling into the next couple competitions.”
Up to three athletes will qualify for the Olympic team who have two podium results across the five qualifiers. The next three qualifiers are the Dew Tour, next weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado; then two more U.S. Grand Prixes, both in January.
At the first Olympic qualifier for halfpipe, held last February at Mammoth Mountain, California, Logan finished 30.th Bowman was the only U.S. finisher on the podium (second place) in that event. And Logan wanted redemption.
Going to the Sochi Games, Logan had wanted to qualify in both events. She has competed in both halfpipe and slopestyle since she was 12, and it has been a life goal to compete in the Olympic Games in both.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t do that [in Sochi],” she said. “But I made up for it with an Olympic medal.”
This is where her two older brothers come into play. As the youngest in a family with five kids, Logan has said, “nothing is ever up to quality for your brothers and sisters.”
She was always striving for her older siblings’ attention, and in turn, her older siblings, particularly her brothers, pushed her to excel.
Even after she won the silver medal in slopestyle in Sochi, they teased, “Good job, but uh, you’re the first loser.”
It’s tough love, Logan said, adding with a wry smile, “I wouldn’t be the person I am or where I am without them, so I guess you can’t pick your family, right?”
Logan’s siblings were not at Copper today. But her brother’s words were in the back of her mind: “Go bigger, grab your skis, do better.”
On her first run, Logan landed a series of 540s (one-and-a-half revolutions) and a 720 (two revolutions) with various grabs and scored her highest run in a halfpipe that was slick in the clear, cold air.
“Hopefully I made them proud,” said Logan, with a laugh. “Probably not. There’s always critiques being the older brother, but I’ll take it.”
With Olympic spots on the line, the American women seemed to opt for safe runs rather than big air. Drew, who fell first run, said the conditions felt grippy. On her third run, she moved from seventh into fourth place but was disappointed. She had backed off a 1080 as her final trick and instead “did a safe 7.”
“It’s just hard to come out here and know that I can ski really well, but now there’s all this extra pressure to do well,” Drew said. “My seasons have just been getting better and better since the last Olympics, so it’s like really hard to just stand up there and have to stress about am I going to make the team again?”
Although she finished fifth, Bowman was happy with her runs. She landed several 9s (two-and-a-half revolutions) and said she “was super proud of my skiing, which was my biggest goal this season.”
Like Logan, Bowman needs one more podium finish to qualify for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.
Logan reiterated that the Americans push each other, and she knows that a spot on the halfpipe team in PyeongChang is not secure, even after finishing second today.
“Anyone on any given day has a chance to win,” said Logan. “And I’m just happy today I got the top spot [for the Americans]. You can only cross your fingers and ski the best you can do because you can’t control anyone else.”
A freelance writer based in Vermont, Peggy Shinn has covered four Olympic Games. She has contributed to TeamUSA.org since its inception in 2008.