This month Olympic.ca will be revisiting the top Canadian sports moments of 2014.
It was a one-and-done kind of day for Dara Howell.
Then 19 years old, the teenager from Huntsville, Ontario put the inaugural Olympic women’s ski slopestyle event to rest before several photographers – who unapologetically jostle for position at big events – were even in place to shoot.
Howell’s feat was made sweeter for the Canadian contingent by a critical second run in the final from teammate Kim Lamarre, putting two Canadians on the first-ever ski slopestyle podium at Sochi.
Qualifying in top two positions, Howell and Lamarre were joined by Yuki Tsubota in fourth place also advancing to the last stage. Despite the early exit of 2013 World Champion Kaya Turski, Canada still seemed dominant.
American Devin Logan jumped out to a score of 85.40, giving Howell something to chase in the next round. The sun had started to heat up the course turning snow and ice into mush but Howell maintained her cool. Confident out of the gate, she laid down a near-perfect run right through the final trick, grabbing the front of her skis on the last jump before nailing the landing to rapturous applause.
In the photo pit we weren’t asking if Howell had wrested the lead from Logan but by how much? The answer came with a massive 94.20 score from the judges.
Canadian joy turned to concern in the second run of the final when Tsubota missed her last landing on a nervy outing that might’ve had podium ramifications. Medical attention was immediate and Tsubota was later confirmed to have a concussion and fractured cheekbone.
Lamarre, who had difficulties in her first go, then stepped up and delivered a clutch performance, scoring 85.00 and jumping from 11th to third for the bronze. It marked the third time at Sochi that Canada saw two of its athletes on the podium in the same event.