Birk Irving looks on after completing a run in the Men's Ski Modified Superpipe Presented by Toyota during the Dew Tour Copper Mountain 2020 on Feb. 09, 2020 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Halfpipe skier Birk Irving earned his first FIS world championship medal on Friday even though his competition ended early.
Irving was in second place midway through the second run in the halfpipe in Aspen, Colorado, when he was passed by Canada’s Simon D’Artois. Irving dropped in for his second of the three runs, but his day ended abruptly.
On his first trick after launching out of the far side of the halfpipe, the 21-year-old from Englewood, Colorado, came down and hit the top of the pipe, taking the impact on his feet before pitching forward and hitting again as he came down the wall. Irving gave a thumbs up and was smiling when he reached the end of the pipe, but he did receive medical attention. He did not come back out for the last run.
Fortunately for Irving, his first-run score of 89.75 held as the third-highest of the day at the world championships, which has been one of the few competitions for many skiers this year. New Zealand’s Nico Porteous won with a score of 94.50 and D’Artois took silver with a 91.25.
Irving’s last podium finish in FIS competition was a world cup bronze medal on Feb. 14, 2020. He took fifth in his world championship debut in 2017 and 13th in 2019.
Irving was among four U.S. athletes in the 10-man final, with 2018 Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira just missing the podium in fourth place. Two-time defending world champion Aaron Blunck, who suffered a devastating training crash back in October, finished in fifth place. Two-time Olympic gold medalist David Wise came in 10th.
A trio of U.S. women also competed on Friday. Hanna Faulhaber finished fourth, followed by two-time Olympian and bronze medalist Brita Sigourney in fifth and two-time Olympian and silver medalist Devin Logan in sixth.