Gus Kenworthy Qualifies First in Men’s Freeski Superpipe Semifinal

As Friday hit high-noon and temperatures hovered around 40 degrees, the men of freeskiing finally had their chance to take the always-spectacular Breckenridge superpipe for their semifinal. Although David Wise is on top of his game right now and enters the weekend as the favorite, plenty of contenders showed that they intend to make some noise and disrupt the podium.

The best-of-two-runs semifinal provided the easiest path to the final – just finish inside the top ten, and you’re in. For the next ten riders outside the bubble, the drama mounted as they were faced with a one-run last-chance qualifier, from which only the top two riders would also advance to the final.

Semifinal Moment of Truth:

One day after competing in the slopestyle semifinal – in which he took fifth – Gus Kenworthy was back at it again today for the superpipe semi. Gus was well outside the bubble entering his second run and was even in danger of missing the LCQ if he couldn’t put something together to at least get into the top 20.  It turned out to be no big deal for the Colorado local, who came out and dropped a run so heavy that it landed him atop the leaderboard above David Wise.

Gus will now be pulling double duty for a few more days – he has the superpipe final tomorrow and the the slopestyle final on Sunday.

LCQ Moment of Relief:

Had there been no LCQ, Alex Ferreira would have already locked himself into the final by finishing 11th in the semifinal. However with the addition of the LCQ this year, that result meant that he would have to return to the top of the pipe for one more pressure-packed run. Ferreira was the last rider to drop and laid down a solid run that included a 1260 double cork and 1080. Then the wait was on.

While the judges evaluated his run and compared it to Yannic Lerjen‘s – who held the bubble spot at the time – Ferreira waited in the corral for what must have felt like an eternity. “Even if I don’t get in, just be happy,” Ferreira told himself as he waited. “Everyone skied really well, and it was a really though competition today.”

When his score finally did come in, he had edged out Lerjen for the final spot and the relief immediately became evident as he walked through the corral high-fiving onlookers. “I can finally breathe,” he exclaimed.

Freeski Superpipe Semifinal Highlights

Top Tricks:

Gus Kenworthy – 900 tail, right 1080, alley-oop dub 900, switch 900 on the last hit

David Wise – dropped in switch, then did a switch 900, switch 720, alley oop flat 540, left dub 1260 mute, right 900 tail

Kevin Rolland – first-hit dub 1260, alley-oop flat 360, dub, switch 720

Torin Yater-Wallace – started his run with a big right dub 1260 into a left 1080, with huge amplitude throughout his run

Quote of the Day:

“Such a relief,” Ferreira said after earning his spot through the LCQ. “That’s the goal – to make it in. Take it one contest at a time, one run at a time. For me to get in, I’m really happy. [For the final,] I’m looking to bump up my run a bit and just stay happy and hope I do well.”

“[The LCQ] is a lot of pressure,” he noted, “but I guess I’m a fan. I got in.”

Semifinal Results:
*Top 10 advance to the final

Gus Kenworthy Qualifies First in Men’s Freeski Superpipe Semifinal

LCQ Results:
*Top 2 advance to the final

Gus Kenworthy Qualifies First in Men’s Freeski Superpipe Semifinal

Men’s Freeski Superpipe Final:

Watch the final this Sunday, December 14th, at 1 p.m. ET on NBC or online at or download the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

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