AS SEEN IN THE DECEMBER 2011 ISSUE OF FREESKIER | WORDS BY HENRIK LAMPERT.
THE MOMENT HALFPIPE AND SLOPESTYLE WERE ADDED TO THE ROSTER AT THE 2014 OLYMPICS IN SOCHI, RUSSIA, THE QUESTION BECAME: WHO’S GOING TO WIN? Freeskier isn’t afraid to take a blind stab at some of the key matchups while ignoring the possibility of unknown youngsters, Europeans, or a secret underground training lair in China. I mean, where there are medals to be had, you can always count on China to be in the mix.
At press time, only the US and Canada had formally announced their National Teams, and the Americans only their halfpipe team. While we can be sure that many other countries will bring formidable teams to the table—France, New Zealand and Norway to name a few—none have made public their athlete or coaching rosters. This in mind, we’ve decided to compare and contrast Team US and Team Canada as they now stand. So who’s going to have the upper hand? Athlete versus athlete. Strength versus weakness. Coach versus coach. America! versus Canadia! We’ve taken (not even close to) every imaginable possibility into consideration. And the winner is…
USA: MIKE JANKOWSKI
Jankowski has experience in spades, from his start coaching halfpipe at Windells in 1998 all the way through his moderately successful stint as head coach of the US snowboard team at the 2010 Vancouver (Canada!) games, where a certain red-headed American skateboarder took the Gold medal. Sadly, Janks is a snowboarder and will only be capable of telling the US freeskiers to, “Hang loose, bro!”
CANADA: TRENNON PAYNTER
Paynter is surely the greatest ski halfpipe coach in the world, with the results to prove it on his resume from his time leading a privately funded Canadian halfpipe team since 2007. But the fact remains that he only went to the Olympics as an athlete through some flimsy ties to Australia. And he was skiing moguls.
ADVANTAGE: Snowboard bro against Aussie bump jockey? PUSH
USA: SIMON DUMONT
The ultimate American Dumont will be skiing with his wallet in his back pocket, providing an exceptional weight to strength ratio, yielding additional speed and amplitude down the pipe.
CANADA: MIKE RIDDLE
With his milky complexion and warm personality, the judges will feel inclined to award Riddle high scores regardless of “accepted” judging criteria.
ADVANTAGE: That wallet is pretty darn thick. The Dumont takes this one. USA +1
USA: TORIN YATER-WALLACE
Yater-Wallace is known to psyche himself up for a run by blasting Taylor Swift through his head-phones. Channeling her multi-platinum talent into a halfpipe run is sure to yield a metal of another sort.
CANADA: JUSTIN DOREY
Without regard for his double flipping, high-amplitude attack, the judges will award the highest possible scores thanks to Dorey’s brooding good looks.
ADVANTAGE: Nothing is more important than having a positive mental outlook. Few things are better for that than a country-pop jam floating through your head. USA +1
USA: TUCKER PERKINS
Two words come to mind when thinking of Tucker’s Olympic preparation: protein shakes and supplements.
CANADA: MATT MARGETTS
His caesar only diet gives Margetts a feeling of confidence that will be instrumental in his quest for glory.
ADVANTAGE: The judges will surely add better than our editors, and Margetts’ confidence will provide the edge. CANADA +1
USA: JEN HUDAK
Gym warrior Hudak (who, our intern claims, has been victorious in at least 18 halfpipe competitions) once competed in a thong and could potentially gain additional style points if she goes that route once again.
CANADA: SARAH BURKE
There is not a more celebrated or successful competitor in women’s freeskiing than Burke. She was also a featured athlete in Mercon Industries’ Guatemalan Persuader (2003).
ADVANTAGE: Anyone who appeared in Guatemalan Persuader is forever a winner in any and all endeavors. CANADA +1
USA: BRITA SIGOURNEY
With her potential relation to Sigourney Weaver, we can only surmise that Brita could easily fight aliens.
CANADA: ROSALIND GROENEWOUD
Roz has jet black hair, and that unquestionably means she has ninja ties.
ADVANTAGE: Ninjas, and their double sword antics, consistently dominate foreign life forms. CANADA +1
USA: DAVID WISE, DEVIN LOGAN, JESS REEDY AND GUS KENWORTHY
- America has Michael Jordan and Gaga.
- Team Canada will probably miss the halfpipe events in favor of attending hockey games.
- America has real Thanksgiving. Canada has something in October.
- America has tons of nukes. Canada has cops on horseback.
- America has Hollywood. Canada has the Toronto Film Festival.
CANADA: DANIA ASSALY, KELTIE HANSEN, NOAH BOWMAN AND MEGAN GUNNING
- Canada has Gretzky and Bieber.
- America will be shuttled to the halfpipe venue in Shaun White’s golden Lamborghini.
- Canada has poutine.
- Scott Hibbert is thinking about a come back.
- Free health care.
CANADA: Tough call here, but even Freeskier has Bieber fever.
USA: Canada is a no show. Even if only one competitor fits in the Lambo America wins.
USA: Poutine is sweet, but Thanksgiving is unrivaled.
CANADA: Not all the nukes in the world can stop Scott Hibbert.
USA: What’s your health good for if you can’t watch sweet movies all the time?
ADVANTAGE: USA +3
ADVANTAGE: CANADA +2
In the case of a tie, China wins.