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Riddle, Groenewoud win gold in final half pipe World Cup event

Mike Riddle of Sherwood Park, Alta.


Canada's Mike Riddle claimed the Crystal Globe as the world's top male halfpipe skier on the FIS circuit after winning the final World Cup event of the season Monday.

It was a successful last event for Canada, with Rosalind Groenewoud winning gold in the women's halfpipe and Noah Bowman earning bronze for his first medal of the season.

Monday's qualifying run in the men's event ended counting as the final after volatile weather at the venue postponed qualifying runs on Sunday. For the women's event, a final scheduled for two runs was limited to one.

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Riddle said that although he didn't know the final round would be cancelled, he went into qualifications with his A game – a bet that paid off when the native of Sherwood Park, Alta., won the round with a score of 88.6 on his first run.

Riddle achieved provisional nomination to next year's Canadian Olympic squad with the win as well as the Crystal Globe for topping the overall men's standings.

"It's such a cool trophy. I started out as a mogul skier so I've wanted a Globe since well before I got into halfpipe," Riddle said. "I can't really believe I have one of my own now – it's pretty cool."

"Aside from an Olympic medal or a world championships medal it's the biggest thing you can get. Up to this point I've never really been able to show that kind of consistency and do well for a whole season. So it means so much to me to get it, it's pretty cool."

Finland's Antti-Jussi Kemppainen was second at 85.0 and Bowman of Calgary, Alta. won bronze with a score of 84.8.

Bowman had a breakout season last year, culminating in a second place at the Winter X Games in 2012. He has struggled this year, but a season-ending podium finish should be a confidence booster going into the summer.

"The season was a lot different then last year," Bowman said. "Last year everything came together really well. This year I was struggling with getting the tricks – even the tricks I had last year – I was having a hard time overcoming fear. It haunted me most of the season. It's definitely a little frustrating to deal with that kind of stuff, but to be able to end it off on a good note was really nice."

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Penticton, B.C.'s Matt Margetts finished just outside the podium in fourth at 81.8.

Canadian rookies Kris Atkinson of Calgary and Simon D'Artois of Whistler, B.C. finished in 23rd and 29th position, respectively.

On the women's side, Groenewoud scored 87.00 to easily best the competition. Virginie Faivre of Switzerland was second at 83.2 while Ayana Onozuka of Japan scored 81.0 for the bronze.

"It was a crazy day with the weather, and I downgraded my runs in qualifications and training so my competition run was the first time I actually did my big tricks in the pipe here," said Calgary's Groenewoud, who is also provisionally nominated for next year's Olympics.

"I'm just really thankful for all the mileage I've put in that enabled me to do a good run without even training it."

Groenewoud finished second overall this season, trailing Faivre in the FIS standings by seven points.

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Keltie Hansen of Edmonton, the only other Canadian in the field, was fourth at 80.00.

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