Kenworthy claims halfpipe World Cup gold in Calgary

Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy admitted it felt good to be back after winning his first World Cup gold medal competing for Great Britain in the halfpipe at the Calgary Snow Rodeo.

The 28-year-old, an Olympic silver medallist, switched allegiance from the US to Britain in December and was taking part in his first halfpipe World Cup in over two years.

But he showed no sign of rustiness as he posted a score of 93.20 for his first World Cup win in four years as he also became the first British man to win halfpipe gold.

And after edging out hometown favourite Brendan Mackay and USA’s Birk Irving to take the top step, Kenworthy could not hide his delight at his performance in Canada.

“I feel great,” Kenworthy said. “It’s my first halfpipe World Cup in two years, and it’s my first competing under the British flag, and I’m just so, so happy.

“I landed a run that I’m happy with, the level of riding tonight was amazing, and I’m very happy to share the podium with Brendan (Mackay) and Birk (Irving).

“I didn’t want to come back to competition slow and just kind of half-ass it. I wanted to come back really aggressive and strong, so it feels good.

“I honestly didn’t know if I was coming back or if I was done competing, but I took some time off and really missed it. It’s great to be back.”

Chelmsford-born Kenworthy is only the third GB Snowsport athlete to win a World Cup event in halfpipe after Rowan Cheshire in 2014 and Zoe Atkin in December last year.

He had previously represented Team USA at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, winning slopestyle silver in Sochi, before adopting Great Britain as his national allegiance last year.

Kenworthy made his comeback at X Games Aspen and then took silver on the modified pipe at Dew Tour, Mammouth last weekend – a result he bettered in style in Calgary.

Vicky Gosling, Chief Executive Officer of GB Snowsport, said: "We are delighted for Gus and his team. We have been working closely with him now for a few months and his transition back to snow has been great.

“This is another great result in what has been a constant streak of World Cup podium finishes for GB Snowsport athletes since the turn of the year and shows that we are heading in the right direction on our goal of being a top five snowsport nation by 2030."

Meanwhile, Kenworthy’s compatriot Katie Ormerod is also in with a chance of medal glory after successfully qualifying for the slopestyle final on Sunday.