“I don’t think I’ve really figured it out yet,” freestyle skier alex hall told olympics.com after winning gold in the men’s slopestyle final. strong> in beijing 2022.
In fairness to Hall, not many who saw the American take home the top prize in his first final race have managed to digest the scintillating display of style and execution they witnessed.
Reading: Alexander hall 2022 winter olympics
When the 23-year-old took off for his final jump, no one expected what he would do next.
hall had already played several skill cards during his first run at the genting snow park.
tiptoed through the rail section in his own unique way, dropping a massive double bobber on the first jump feature then creatively using the wave section to lay down a switch from left 720 nosebutter to 540 japan out .
what followed left everyone speechless.
The lanky American stomped on a right double cork 1080 and effectively stopped a mid-air rotation to come back the other way. it was such an innovative stunt that it had viewers and commentators roaring in awe.
In a nod to her bold salon she earned a score of 90.01 from the judges, which was enough to win gold before the remaining two rounds. her teammate nick goepper finally took silver for us 1-2 ahead of Swede jesper tjader in third place.
Recognizing the magnitude of what he had just left behind on the Olympic stage, he jumped over the barrier with his head in his hands.
That overwhelming sense of joy and relief was still in the hall when olympics.com caught up with him after collecting his gold award for his efforts that pushed the limits:
The alaskan-born skier who grew up in zurich, switzerland, said, still beaming with pride: “it’s been amazing. I’m grateful to ski my best and do a race that excited me.
“The main thing for me is always to have fun and ski the best I can, so I’m happy that’s what I was able to do.”
more: american freeskier alex hall spins gold against the tide
enjoying the experience and focusing on the “why” was a critical part of hall’s success in beijing.
That meant for the skier to lean into the unique challenge that the Olympic cycle presents.
Having the opportunity to shoot once every four years can add an extra load of weight on top of already hard-pressed performance. And when Hall reflected on his golden day, he was the first to admit that he was nervous:
“adds the pressure of having it every four years. and I think for me, the playoffs [qualifiers] are even more stressful than the finals, just because I wanted to get to the finals and I wanted to have another chance to show the world what I had.
“It’s very hard to get your way on any given day because some tracks are very hard to follow and, you know, they pull off every jump on every rail perfectly, especially one like this that was very, very difficult. for us to find out.”
but once hall strapped on his skis, he found he could free himself from expectations by focusing on what mattered most to him: having fun:
“As soon as I hit the snow and started skiing, I forgot a lot of things and just tried to have fun and tell myself that I love skiing and that’s the main reason I do it.
“If I can go out there and have an amazing race and get a medal on top of that, that would be great. But as long as I’m having a good time, that’s what counts for me.”
“Having everything go your way is very, very special. And I think that’s the great thing about freeskiing, we all have so much fun doing it. And the joy is a big part of it.”
“I think individuality, creativity and having a good time is the best part of our sport.” – alex hall at olympics.com
alex hall, nick goepper, colby stevenson and mac forehand: team usa freeskiers are stronger together
The path to Olympic gold is rarely walked alone, and while freestyle skiing may be an individual sport, there is little doubt in Hall’s mind that his achievement in Beijing was made possible by the support of others.
The slopestyle specialist, who also competed in the big aerial competition at the now infamous shougang stadium, credited his compatriots for the environment they created to allow him to thrive:
“i have so many good friends on the team: nick, colby and mac. They’re all great guys and amazing skiers and they ski so well that you want to push yourself to ski your best and be a part of that energy.
“I definitely wouldn’t be where I am right now in terms of my skiing ability, but probably also who I am as a person, so there are a lot of factors that come into play there, and I’m grateful to spend a lot of time with them. ”
The recently crowned Olympic champion not only recognized those closest to him. Speaking at the freestyle skiing community room, he acknowledged that being part of a close-knit group in a sport where the limits of what’s possible are constantly pushed is really important :
“above the us”. team and all those guys, [I’m thankful for] everyone else in the competition that I’m friends with.
“with all the people i compete with on a downhill track or a big air event, whether they’re from canada, sweden or wherever, we’re all very close and that creates a great atmosphere. I think it brings out the best in us as people and it also brings out the best in our skiing.”
more: american freeskier alex hall and his big bag of tricks