Howell nails gold with brilliant opening salvo

Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:19am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Canadian teenager Dara Howell nailed her opening run as her rivals fell like ninepins on the Rosa Khutor snow to win the first Olympic gold medal in women's freestyle skiing slopestyle at the Sochi Games on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old former figure skater set such an imposing target with a score of 94.20 that she was able to celebrate her victory before her second run, which effectively functioned as a lap of honor.

"Oh, my God. I don't know what to say," Howell told reporters. "I can't believe it. It is so surreal and I am so happy to win a gold medal for Canada.

"I don't think it will hit me until later. 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."

Devin Logan of the United States claimed silver with a score of 85.40 on her first run and Kim Lamarre took bronze for Canada with 85.00 on her second run after her first ended in a wipeout, a fate that befell many other skiers.

The warmer weather certainly made for soft conditions on the course but the skiers were also taking their tricks to the limits to try to reach the podium after a couple of the favorites failed to reach the final.

FELL AWKWARDLY   Continued...

Canada's Dara Howell reacts in the finish area during the women's freestyle skiing slopestyle finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 10, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake