Lyman Currier snags Olympic spot
Ryan Summerlin January 22, 2014
Lyman Currier, a 19-year-old halfpipe skier out of Boulder, Colo., needed two podium finishes at the U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix at Park City Mountain Resort this past weekend to punch a ticket to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
He’d never been on a Grand Prix podium before, so the odds of an unlikely Olympic berth were not in his favor after all, only two guaranteed Olympic spots remained after David Wise clinched his spot earlier this season.
But, after a confidence-building third-place finish on Friday night, Currier came up huge on Saturday night, finding his way not just to the podium, but to the top of the podium.
"I’m so stoked," he said after winning Saturday’s halfpipe event. "Oh my god, I can’t even believe this is going on right now."
Standing at the bottom of the halfpipe waiting for his opponents to finish their second runs made Currier really nervous, he admitted.
"It’s insane," he said. "Just standing down here, being on the podium, every single person coming down can knock you off. It’s definitely nerve-wracking."
But, perhaps the most nervous Currier got was when he was waiting at the top of the pipe to get his first run started.
"There’s definitely a lot of pressure, a lot of butterflies at the top," he said. "But, after that first run, they all kind of subsided."
Coming into the weekend, he was a long shot to make it to Sochi. Now, two podiums later, he’s accomplished one of his biggest dreams and is a part of the first-ever U.S. Olympic Freeskiing Team.
"The Olympics, ever since they announced that [freeskiing was] in, has been a goal for me," Currier said.
Joining Currier on the podiums were Kevin Rolland of France, who won first place on Friday night, and American Alex Ferreira, who took silver in Friday’s contest. On Saturday, Currier was joined by second-place Aaron Blunck and third-place finisher Gus Kenworthy.
Though Maddie Bowman clinched her Olympic spot last week in Breckenridge, she decided to compete in the women’s halfpipe competition anyway to give fans in her adopted hometown a show.
She didn’t disappoint, capturing a gold medal with an impressive run on Friday night.
"There was definitely a different sort of pressure today," she said. "I had a lot of friends and family out here and I wanted to impress them. I had a great time and it made it all the more fun."
Despite the risk of suffering an injury, Bowman said she competed so she could keep perfecting her run leading up to Sochi.
"I’m really happy to keep the ball rolling and be here in kind of my new home to ski," she said. "My biggest focus was just to try new stuff, push it a little bit harder so I could risk a little bit more. It seemed to work out."
Plus, she added, if she doesn’t fall, she won’t hurt herself ahead of the X Games and the Sochi Olympics.
"I just think that, if I do everything right, I’ll be fine," she said. "I just wanted to keep the momentum going into the X Games and the Olympics."
Bowman shared the podium with a pair of French skiers Marie Martinod (second place) and Anais Caradeux (third place).
On Saturday, Angeli VanLaanen took over the top spot on the podium. Brita Sigourney (second) and Devin Logan (third) rounded out an all-American top three.
After Saturday’s competition, the official Olympic nominations were handed out, with a fourth, discretionary spot still to be named.
With the team roster mostly complete, Currier can’t wait to show the Russian what he and the rest of Team USA can do in the pipe.
"They’re going to love it," he said. "We go big and we do really crazy stuff."
U.S. Halfpipe Skiing Olympic Team