In the end, the cowgirl won the gold.
Kaitlyn Farrington, the 24-year-old from Idaho whose parents sold off their cattle to bankroll her career, sparked the second upset on the halfpipe in two nights. She smoothed out a near-flawless run Wednesday to edge Aussie Torah Bright, who settled for silver, and take down the American favorite, Kelly Clark, who wound up with bronze.
“I’m sure they do not miss those cows today,” Farrington said of her folks.
The running joke in her family comes when her parents tell her to “Cowgirl Up,” and over a long day that included six runs — two each in qualifying, semifinals and finals — Farrington did just that.
The winning run earned a score of 91.75. It included one of the tougher combinations in the sport — a double-twisting jump with a near-blind landing, followed by a 2½-spin jump. It closed with a twisting, head-over-heels flip at the bottom. Superb, though certainly beatable by three of the women still at the top for Run 2, all of whom had Olympic gold medals back at home.
Lake Tahoe’s Hannah Teter, the 2006 champion who wound up fourth, couldn’t do it. Neither could Bright, who ended up .25 points from her second straight gold, but viewed this as nothing less than a victory considering she’s competing in three events — slopestyle, halfpipe and, next, snowboardcross.