“She won the event today, and she made the Olympic team!” Kaitlyn Farrington’s dad screamed into a cellphone.
Behind him, a crowd of snowboarding fans waited for the US Olympic snowboard team announcement at Mammoth Mountain, California on Sunday. Music was blasting while the announcer was tossing hats and t-shirts to an enthusiastic crowd.
“Can you hear me?” Kaitlyn’s dad shouted. “She made the Olympic team!”
Next to him, Farrington’s mom staked a front row position and steadied her camera, ready to take a picture when Kaitlyn was announced.
To make the US women’s halfpipe team, Farrington (who was profiled as a star on the rise by Sun Valley Mag in the Winter 2011 issue) had to win the fifth and final stop of the US Grand Prix. With Olympic gold-medalist Kelly Clark on a four-event winning streak, that was not an easy task.
But the 24-year old, who grew up in Bellevue, said she was not feeling much pressure. Her main goal was to perform her best and have fun while she was at it. Farrington said she felt pretty good knowing that she put together a solid run when it mattered the most.
“I’m really excited to have made the team,” Kaitlyn said. “My whole family came out from Idaho, so I was excited that they were here for it, too.”
Farrington landed her hardest run on the first try, besting one of the strongest fields in US women’s halfpipe history. The win clinched Farrington’s spot on the Olympic team. Clark took second place and Hannah Teter was third.
Heading in to the final three qualification events at Mammoth, only Clark had secured a position on the halfpipe team. The remaining three spots were so competitive that Kaitlyn’s parents said they hadn’t even booked flights to Sochi yet because they “didn’t want to jinx it.”
Along with Clark, Farrington and Teter, Arielle Gold rounds out the team of American women heading to Sochi.
“To have nine of 11 spots come down to the final weekend of qualifying shows the true depth of US Snowboarding,” said Mike Jankowski, US Snowboarding’s head coach. “We're taking an outstanding team to Sochi that's ready to bring home those medals.”