Out freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy will advance to the finals of the men’s freeski halfpipe in Beijing after a somewhat shaky start to his 2022 Winter Olympics Games.
A three-time veteran of the Olympic Games, Kenworthy won the silver medal in 2014 at the Sochi Winter Olympics for Team USA in men’s slopestyle. Now 30-years-old, he’s announced these Olympic Games will be his final competition.
In the freeski halfpipe, all competitors make two runs on the course and their best score is considered for placement in the finals. After a fall on his first run, Kenworthy had choices to make: throw more risky moves for a bigger score or take a safer run he knew he would land but was still technically challenging enough to get him into the finals.
His second run delivered a much improved 70.75, which put him (at the time) in 11th place. Only the top 12 skiers would move on to the finals, and Kenworthy had to sweat through several more skiers left in the queue to throw down their second runs.
After crashing out on Run 1, @guskenworthy's remarkable 2nd Run was enough to qualify for finals tomorrow in 12th place 🇬🇧
— GB Snowsport (@GBSnowsport) February 17, 2022
In the end, Kenworthy held on to place 12th in the qualifying round. So, we will be seeing him in the finals on Saturday.
NBC isn’t allowing embedding videos from the Games at this time, but you can watch his second run on YouTube here.
Kenworthy told BBC Sport, “I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed out,”
“I could have done so much more. My first run I had a fall and then really didn’t want to fall again, and so I decided to be a little bit more conservative with my [second] run.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t put it down quite as clean as I could have and the judges were pretty harsh on me for it, rightfully so, but it was not the position I wanted to be in. I feel very grateful that I am through to the final, and the final is a new day.”
He also shared his thoughts on the qualifying round in his Instagram Stories writing: “Holy f*%@ that was a nail-biter! Didn’t ski my best today but luckily still managed to squeak through into the final. Congrats to all of the usual suspects for putting it down and making it through – stoked to compete alongside y’all one last time!!!”
Thus far, Team GB has not scored any medals at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Kenworthy, who was born in the UK, announced he would compete at the 2022 Games as a member of Team GB in tribute to his mother, who is British.
He had a rough patch in the months leading up to these Winter Games as a fall during training left him with a concussion, and then he contracted COVID-19 which put him down for several days.
But he’s back up to speed now, and we know he’s capable of making it to the podium. You can watch the freeski half-pipe finals Saturday on NBC and Peacock.