PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- In Sochi, Devin Logan won a silver medal in skiing’s inaugural slopestyle competition.
Her older brother’s teased her.
“Good job but uh, you’re the first loser, so what are you going to do about that?” she remembered them joshing her. “I’m like thanks. Tough love.”
At the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Logan has two chances to up that silver to gold. On her 25th birthday, she will compete in slopestyle. Two days later, she aims to win the Olympic halfpipe competition.
Logan is the first American skier to qualify for both events at the Olympic Games.
So does she have a better chance of winning gold in slopestyle or halfpipe?
Looking at recent results, Logan appears stronger in halfpipe. At the final Olympic qualifier in mid-January, she finished third in pipe and ninth in slopestyle.
But U.S. coach Skogen Sprang says she is capable of medaling in either.
“I wouldn’t say she’s stronger in one over the other,” Sprang said. “She made the team in both because she’s really good at both.”
For Logan, competing in two events is not unusual. She frequently competes in both slopestyle and halfpipe at competitions like X Games and U.S. Grand Prixes. It’s a matter of figuring out each competition’s slopestyle course, which vary from location to location, then adjusting to each halfpipe. Halfpipes do not vary in shape, just snow quality and texture.
While her slopestyle run changes depending on the features of each course, Logan’s halfpipe run is a set routine of tricks.
“It would be cool to take home two medals,” she said in a pre-competition press conference. “That’s the dream right now. I’m just going to put down runs that I’m happy with and walk away with that. If the judges like it, they like it. If they don’t, I’ll be happy with it.”
This time, her brothers won’t be here to watch, just her parents.
“My mom was in Sochi with me when I won my silver medal so it will be great to have my dad here,” she said. “Hopefully I can re-do the whole thing all over again, that’s what I want.
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In men’s slopestyle, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper are back, both hoping to win more Olympic medals. They were part of a U.S. podium sweep in Sochi, with Kenworthy taking silver and Goepper bronze.
“I had a bronze medal in Sochi, so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a little chip on my shoulder and want to better that this time around,” admitted Goepper. “Being the only Winter Olympic medalist from Indiana, I’d like to bring another medal back home to the Hoosiers.”
Josh Christensen won gold at the 2014 Games. But he did not make the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.
Instead, McRae Williams and Alex Hall will represent Team USA in slopestyle, along with Kenworthy and Goepper.
At age 27, Williams is a veteran freeskier with three X Games medals. He grew up with Christensen in Park City, Utah, but did not have the Olympic Games on his radar until recently, having just missed the 2014 team. When Williams was growing up, slopestyle and halfpipe skiing events had yet to make their Olympic debut. Back then, the X Games was the pinnacle of the sport.
Now Williams is “looking to fill that void [left by Christensen] and bring another gold medal back to Park City.”
Hall, 19, is the young guy on the slopestyle team. He grew up in Switzerland but now calls Park City home. He won a silver medal at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016 and knows what it’s like to compete on an international stage.
Can three of these men sweep the slopestyle podium again?
“That it’s something that you can never really predict,” said Kenworthy. “There are so many countries that are so competitive and so good in slopestyle, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, there are so many contenders.”
“But I think the U.S. team is really deep,” he added. “We have an insanely deep talent pool. Just [qualifying for the 2018 Olympic Games] was so tough. So all four of us are contenders for the podium and the girls as well. It would be pretty sweet to see another sweep.”
Goepper is confident as well.
“Of course,” he said. “Nothing less.”
A freelance writer based in Vermont, Peggy Shinn has covered five Olympic Games. She has contributed to TeamUSA.org since its inception in 2008.