Ski halfpipe will enter the Winter Olympics program at Sochi, complementing the recent introduction of other youth-oriented snow events such as freestyle ski cross and snowboard halfpipe.
(Sochi 2014 Winter Games)
Mike Riddle of Sherwood Park, Alta., is part of Canada’s freestyle ski team for Sochi. Riddle has competed on the professional halfpipe skiing circuit for the past seven years and his accomplishments include a 2011 world championship title and World Cup halfpipe overall championship in 2013.
(Mike Ridewood/The Canadian Press)
Keltie Hansen of Edmonton will be one of three women representing Canada in ski halfpipe in Sochi, along with gold-medal favourite Roz Groenewoud and Megan Gunning.
(Mike Ridewood/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
One of Canada’s pioneers in ski halfpipe was Sarah Burke, who died from injuries sustained in a training run in January of 2012. The 29-year-old Burke was practising a 540-degree spin in Park City, Utah, when she fell and hit her head. The crash ruptured her vertebral artery. She died nine days later in hospital.
(John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
The memory of Burke is expected to be a rallying point for Canada’s freestyle ski team in Sochi. ‘I know that she would have wanted us to keep pushing the sport and go to the Olympics and represent Canada as best as we could,’ Riddle says. ‘… She is going to be on our minds a lot the whole time we are there.’