Canada's Sharpe captures silver, Karker bronze in Olympic freeski halfpipe

Cassie Sharpe captured silver and Rachael Karker claimed bronze in the women's freeski halfpipe final on Friday for Canada's 21st and 22nd medals at the Beijing Olympics.

U.S.-born Gu wins historic gold for China

Silver medallist Cassie Sharpe, left, gold medallist Eileen Gu, centre, and bronze medallist Rachael Karker pose during the medal ceremony following the Olympic women's freeski halfpipe final on Friday in Beijing. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Cassie Sharpe captured silver and Rachael Karker claimed bronze in the women's freeski halfpipe final on Friday for Canada's 21st and 22nd medals at the Beijing Olympics. China's Eileen Gu won gold for her third medal in Beijing.

Sharpe, from Comox, B.C., finished with a best score of 90.75 points for her second Olympic medal after winning the event four years ago in Pyeongchang. Karker, from Erin, Ont., finished behind her with 87.75 to cap off her impressive Olympic debut.

Sharpe was thrilled to share the podium with a teammate this time around.

"It's amazing. It's been so fun training with her since the last four years and seeing how far she's taken the sport and seeing how far she pushes herself. Being on the podium with another Canadian is surreal," Sharpe said.

WATCH | Sharpe soars to Olympic silver in women's freeski halfpipe final:

Canada's Cassie Sharpe soars to silver in Olympic women's freeski halfpipe final

8 months ago
Duration 6:00
Defending Olympic champion Cassie Sharpe of Comox, B.C., claimed silver in the women's freeski halfpipe final, one spot ahead of teammate Rachael Karker of Erin, Ont.

Sharpe's position on the podium caps off a remarkable comeback from knee surgery after she tore her ACL and MCL at the X Games a year ago. The 29-year-old only returned to competition in December.

"Exactly a year ago I had reconstructive ACL knee surgery in which they fractured my femur. It was just a crazy experience to go through that and the first three, four months after surgery I didn't know if I would make it here," Sharpe said.

"Being able to flip it around and get on snow just under four months ago and make it to the Games and get a podium, I'm extremely proud and pretty satisfied with my performance. I left it all on the table and [am] just stoked to be here."

Calgary's Amy Fraser finished eighth in her Olympic debut after posting a best score of 75.25 on her first run.

WATCH | Karker earns bronze in her Olympic freeski halfpipe debut:

Canada's Rachael Karker earns bronze in her Olympic freeski halfpipe debut

8 months ago
Duration 2:29
2021 world championship silver medallist Rachael Karker of Erin, Ont., claimed the bronze medal in her Olympic freeski halfpipe debut at Beijing 2022, finishing one spot behind teammate Cassie Sharpe of Comox, B.C.

U.S.-born superstar Gu won a historic gold for China with another amazing performance (95.25), becoming the first action-sports athlete to win three medals at the same Winter Games. The 18-year-old sensation previously won big air gold and slopestyle silver in Beijing.

Raised in San Francisco, she has faced ongoing backlash for her decision to represent her mother's home country, but her decision has paid off with a show-stealing Olympic debut.

She won her first gold in Beijing by becoming the second female skier to ever land a double 1620 in competition.

"It has been two straight weeks of the most intense highs and lows I've ever experienced in my life," Gu said. "It has changed my life forever. The second I landed the last 1620 in big air, I knew my life was never going to be the same.

"Even then I would have never imagined that I'd walk away with another silver and another gold."

WATCH | Gu wins 2nd Olympic gold, 3rd medal in Beijing:

American-born Eileen Gu wins 2nd Olympic gold and 3rd medal for China

8 months ago
Duration 2:57
U.S.-born superstar Eileen Gu made history for China by topping the podium in women's freeski halfpipe, becoming the first action-sports athlete to win three medals at the same Winter Games. The 18-year-old sensation previously won big air gold and slopestyle silver in Beijing.

But Gu's mission goes far beyond the podium, as she hopes to inspire a new generation of young girls to get into the sport.

"I'm so honoured to be here, and I'm even more honoured by this platform that I've been given to be able to spread this message and inspire young girls through my own passion for the sport, and to be able hopefully spread the sport to people that might not have heard of it before," Gu said.

WATCH | Fans React: Freeski star Gu makes Olympic history:

Fans React: Eileen Gu makes Olympic history taking gold in freeski halfpipe

8 months ago
Duration 0:40
Just 18 years old, China's Eileen Gu is an undisputed star, winning two golds and a silver in her first Olympic Games.

The best score of three runs determined the Olympic champion at Genting Snow Park.

Sharpe momentarily took top spot after earning 89 points on a great opening run that included back-to-back 900s and a big 1080 to close it out.

"It's the Olympics baby! What a rush," Sharpe said while awaiting her score.

She looked even better on her second run, executing a pair of 1080s while earning 90.00. She saved her best for last with another technical run that improved her score again while solidifying her hold on silver.

Karker's first run was her best, putting her in second place behind Sharpe until Gu bumped them both down. The 24-year-old followed it up with another clean run, but her first proved to be enough to reach the podium.

"It was amazing. Cassie and I have shared so many podiums over the years and I'm so happy we were also able to get this one," Karker said. "We were just so happy to share this, and it was always a dream for it to be both of us, and we did, so we are just overwhelmed with emotions.

"Just super happy with each other."

WATCH | Sharpe, Karker discuss their journey to Olympic halfpipe podium:

Sharpe & Karker discuss their journey to halfpipe podium

8 months ago
Duration 2:36
Cassie Sharpe and Rachael Karker talk about their battles to win silver and bronze respectively in women's halfpipe.

Karker won halfpipe silver at the 2021 world championships. She is a three-time X Games medallist in superpipe, and finished third in the World Cup halfpipe standings with three podium finishes this season.

Gu took top spot with her first run and never looked back after applying major pressure with a score of 93.25. Taking inspiration from Sharpe, she took things up a notch on her gold-winning second run.

"In my second run I wanted to step it up. Cassie with a 1080 inspired me, so I wanted to put the right alley-oop 5 in," Gu said.

As the last skier to go, Gu's spot atop the podium was already ensured before her final run. She is also the reigning halfpipe world champion, and has won all four World Cup halfpipe competitions this season.

Sharpe, Karker pay tribute to Sarah Burke

The event made its Olympic debut in 2014 thanks to the extensive lobbying efforts of late Canadian freeski pioneer Sarah Burke, who tragically passed away ten years ago after a training crash.

Sharpe honoured her powerful legacy once again after reaching the Olympic podium for the second time.

"Every day when we go to the wax cabin we've got a Canada flag on our door, we've got Sarah's name across that flag. She's definitely here with us and is the reason we are here," Sharpe said. "It's an honour to be on the podium and representing what she believed in."

Karker echoed Sharpe's sentiments while also paying tribute to the legend who transformed the sport.

"She was and still is an icon in Canada for halfpipe skiing, and I just really hope that she was here today. She would be proud of us, that we make Canada proud. It's great to try to honour her with this."

The men's freeski halfpipe final will also feature three Canadians, with Brendan Mackay, Noah Bowman and Simon d'Artois.

Action gets underway on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET, and will be streamed live on CBC Gem, the CBC Sports app and CBC Sports' Beijing 2022 website.

WATCH | Sharpe's family celebrates her podium finish from all the way back home:

Cassie Sharpe's family celebrates her podium finish from all the way back home

8 months ago
Duration 0:46
As Cassie Shapre put down a silver medal run the in the women's halfpipe event, her family were cheering her on all the way.

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