Canada's Dara Howell wins gold, Kim Lamarre bronze in slopestyle skiing
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 11, 2014 3:27AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 11, 2014 7:12AM EST
KRASNAYA POLAYNA, Russia -- Canada has its fourth gold medal of the Sochi Olympics.
Dara Howell of Huntsville, Ont., won the inaugural women's slopestyle ski competition Tuesday after scoring 94.20 in her first run.
Quebec City's Kim Lamarre won bronze after with 85.00 on her second run.
The 19-year-old Howell was at a loss for words after her victory.
"I don't think it will hit me until later," she said. "It is truly amazing. There is a number of really good girls out there and I came out on top.
"This is the best moment in my entire life."
On having to wait until the end to find out she had won:
"There was so many good riders out there. I had to wait until the end but doing my first ever victory lap was incredible."
Lamarre said she hadn't even targeted the podium.
"I knew it was possible but I didn't put it as my main goal," I just wanted to make finals and then land my run and see what happened."
Yuki Tsubota of Whistler, B.C., was taken off the course on a stretcher after a nasty crash off a jump and taken to hospital for a jaw injury.
Tsubota was attempting to land the third of three jumps at the end of the challenging and slushy course when she crashed into the crest of the landing zone. The 20-year-old slid down the hill while her skis scattered.
Tsubota finished sixth with a 71.60 first run.
Medal favourite Kaya Turski of Montreal fell twice in qualifying.
Turski slid off the box at the top of the course and landed face down, taking her time before gingerly getting back up and slowly skiing down. She separated her shoulder in the fall -- a chronic problem -- and popped it back in herself on the course.
On the second run, she fell on the final jump.
It was just the latest in a string of bad luck for the 25-year-old, who underwent knee surgery in August. While she returned to win the X Games two weeks ago, she was promptly bit by a virus that sapped her energy here.
"I've just been feeling low the last two weeks," she said. "I've been fighting this. It's Day 15 and I'm still kind of struggling.
"I struggled this morning in practice and kind of lost confidence and hesitated my first run. That's what happened (leading up to the fall). Second run, kind of a bobble, I think."
Despite her struggles, she was thrilled for her teammates, tweeting at them following their medal performances.
"Wow!!! @DaraHowell you just won the Olympics!" she said. "Proud of you kid. You skied amazing. Hats off to my very talented Canadian teammate."
To Lemarre she said "YOU DID IT!!!! Ahhhhh!!!! No one deserves this more. Congrats my girl."
Freestyle skiers have been mostly responsible for Canada's run of gold medals with Justine Dufour-Lapointe winning in women's moguls and Alexandre Bilodeau taking the men's moguls. Short-track speedskater Charles Hamelin has the fourth gold.
"I'm happy to bring home another gold medal for Canada," she said. "The hard work has paid off."