Women’s Freeskiing Slopestyle at the Winter Olympics: Live Updates and Results

Eileen Gu of China and Mathild Gremaud of Switzerland waiting for scores in the women's freeski slopestyle final at the 2022 Winter Olympics
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Olympic medals in women’s freeskiing slopestyle were awarded on Monday night in the United States (Tuesday morning in Beijing). Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud claimed gold, improving on her silver medal in this event from four years ago and picking up her second medal of these 2022 Winter Olympics. Eileen Gu also won her second medal in Beijing, a silver. And Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru earned the bronze, her nation’s first Winter Olympic medal in a sport other than cross-country skiing.

See below for On Her Turf’s preview of the women’s slopestyle final, as well as live updates and results as competition unfolded.

Women’s Freeski Slopestyle Final – Live Updates:

8:32pm ET: And we are underway with the first run of the women’s ski slopestyle final. Athletes go in reverse order of their qualifying round scores. Best score counts.

8:38pm ET: France’s Tess Ledeux – who claimed silver in big air earlier at these 2022 Beijing Winter Games – throws down a big double cork. And that certainly isn’t the hardest trick we’ll see from Ledeux today. She moves into first with a score of 72.91.

8:46pm ET: Anastasia Tatalina, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, goes down on the final jump after an otherwise strong run.

8:48pm ET: Team USA’s Maggie Voisin on course for her first run, which ends up being a wash. After a strong rails section, she catches an edge on the first jump and bails out.

8:52pm ET: China’s Eileen Gu sends it in her first run. Following a strong rails section, she lands both a double cork 1080 and cork 900 with a double grab. But a couple of bobbles hurt her score – 69.90 – she moves into second behind Ledeux.

8:55pm ET: Kelly Sildaru of Estonia with a very clean run. She moves into first with a score of 82.06.

Video of Kelly Sildaru’s first run in the women’s freeski slopestyle final:

8:57pm ET: After the first run, the top three are Kelly Sildaru, Tess Ledeux, and Eileen Gu.

9:00pm ET: Curious how cold it is at Genting Snow Park today? Negative 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Yikes.

9:02pm ET: Time for run #2… After a binding issue caused a rough first run – she literally scored 1.10 points (out of 100) – Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud does more than just bounce back. Gremaud, the big air bronze medalist from earlier in these Games, moves into gold-medal position with a score of 86.56.

9:07pm ET: Oof. Tess Ledeux goes down on the first jump (aka “twisted sisters”). She remains in bronze-medal position – for now – thanks to her first run score.

9:17pm ET: Wow. American Maggie Voisin with a big run that moves her into third place. Voisin, a 23-year-old who hails from Whitefish, Montana, is aiming for her first Olympic medal. Voisin earned a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team at age 15, where she was poised to become the youngest U.S. winter Olympian since 1972, but she had to withdraw from the Games after she fractured her right fibula during a training run. Four years ago, in her official Olympic debut, she placed fourth in this event. She’s overcome a lot off the snow, too, including the loss of her older brother Michael in January 2021.

Video of Maggie Voisin’s strong second run in the Olympic slopestyle final:

9:20pm ET: And Eileen Gu goes down on the third rail feature. Currently in seventh, she’ll need to rely on her third run.

9:25pm ET: Wow. Kelly Sildaru with a very strong run until the final jump. She loses a ski, but still manages to land on her feet? What? Olympians, they’re built different. She’s still in silver-medal position, though, thanks to her first run.

9:27pm ET: After the second run, here’s where the podium stands: Mathilde Gremaud (86.56), Kelly Sildaru (82.06), and Maggie Voisin (74.28). Because of the format (best score across all three runs counts), it is still anyone’s game.

9:32pm ET: Time for run #3… Mathilde Gremaud with a strong run…. until the final jump, when she goes down. She’s in gold-medal position for now, but she has to wait to see if that score will hold up once the final 10 competitors come through. Gremaud was in this position just yesterday, when she was the 12th and final qualifier into today’s final.

9:34pm ET: Tess Ledeux, in sixth place heading into run three, isn’t able to put down a medal-winning run. She bobbles on her first jump, and calls it there. Ledeux still will leave Beijing with a silver medal from the big air competition.

9:42pm ET: Anastasia Tatalina, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, lands a massive double cork 1440 on the final jump. Wow. The early part of her run included a couple of bobbles, though. She moves from fourth to third… switching spots with Maggie Voisin.

9:46pm ET: Speaking of… Maggie Voisin with a good run, but a touch on her first jump hurts her. She stays in fourth, the same position she finished in four years ago in PyeongChang.

9:49pm ET: Eileen Gu with a good final run, solid on both the rails and jumps. She moves into silver-medal position with a score of 86.23.

9:52pm ET: If you’re confused about the scoring, a quick refresher: in slopestyle, athletes are evaluated based on their technical difficulty, as well as their style and overall impression. It’s not just about big jumps, but also about skiing stylishly and with ease. Trick judges score athletes for their technical ability (60% of the total score) and overall judges rate overall impression (40% of the score). Scores range from 0 to 100 points.

9:54pm ET: It’s down to Kelly Sildaru… She’s guaranteed bronze, but can improve on that with a top score.

9:56pm ET: Wow. Kelly Sildaru with a statement run. Back-to-back 1080s on the final two jumps, but it’s not enough. She’ll finish with bronze thanks to her first run score.

10:00pm ET: The podium is official: Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud claims gold, improving on her silver medal in this event from four years ago. Eileen Gu wins the silver, also her second medal of these 2022 Winter Olympics. And Kelly Sildaru picks up the bronze. That marks Estonia’s first ever medal at the Winter Olympics in a sport other than cross-country skiing. Pretty impressive given that the nation doesn’t have any mountains.

10:12pm ET: It’s almost time for the women’s downhill in alpine skiing. After a 30-minute wind delay, the race is slated to begin at 10:30pm ET. You can follow along for live updates here.

What is slopestyle skiing?

In slopestyle, skiers perform a variety of tricks as they move through a course that includes rails, boxed, bumps, and jumps. Athletes are evaluated based on their technical difficulty, as well as their style. Trick judges score athletes for their technical ability (60% of the total score) and overall judges rate overall impression (40% of the score). Scores range from 0 to 100 points.

Preview – Women’s Freeskiing Slopestyle at the 2022 Winter Olympics:

Earlier this week, the first ever Olympic medals in women’s freeski big air were awarded, with China’s Eileen Gu claiming gold, France’s Tess Ledeux picking up silver and Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud earning bronze. All three medal winners will be back in competition for today’s final in women’s freeski slopestyle.

The top qualifier heading into the final is Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru. Four years ago, Sildaru – then 15 – was expected to be a medal favorite in both freeski slopestyle and halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. But in September 2017, she suffered a left knee injury in training that ultimately kept her from competing at the Games. Sildaru won the Youth Olympic gold in this event two years ago, and she is also a six-time X Games champion (four in slopestyle, two in superpipe).

Also notable is the fact that Sildaru hails from Estonia, a country with no mountains. The tallest peak in the nation? Suur Munamagi, at just over 1,000 feet. The nation of 1.2 million has won just four medals in Winter Olympic history, all in cross-country skiing.

Gu, who posted the third highest score in qualifying, is also expected to be a big threat. The 18-year-old Gu – who was born in San Francisco and represents China – enters the final as the reigning world champion. She also won X Games gold in this event last year.

One American will compete in the final: Maggie Voisin. Her U.S. teammate Marin Hamill, also qualified for the final, but will not compete due to an injury she sustained in qualifying. Per U.S. Ski and Snowboard, Hamill “has a right leg injury and will return to the U.S. for further evaluation and care.”

MORE WINTER OLYMPICS: In alpine skiing, women compete, but that’s about it

Freeski Slopestyle – Olympic Competition Format:

The top 12 skiers from qualifying advanced. In the final, competitors will start in reverse order of their qualifying score; so Kelly Sildaru, as the top qualifier, will go last.

Each athlete will have three runs, with their best score counting towards the final standings.

MORE WINTER OLYMPICS: Winter Olympics: Women’s Downhill – Preview and Live Updates

Start List:

7 – SUI – Mathilde GREMAUD
17 – CAN – Olivia ASSELIN
14 – GBR – Katie SUMMERHAYES
1 – FRA – Tess LEDEUX
18 – ITA – Silvia BERTAGNA
12 – USA – Marin HAMILL (injured, will not compete)
9 – GBR – Kirsty MUIR
16 – ROC – Anastasia TATALINA
10 – USA – Maggie VOISIN
3 – CHN – Eileen (Ailing) GU
5 – NOR – Johanne KILLI
2 – EST – Kelly SILDARU

The NBC Olympics research team contributed to this report. 
Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

Diana Flores looks to break down gender barriers with turn as AFC defensive coordinator in 2023 Pro Bowl

Courtesy Diana Flores
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Diana Flores admits she was surprised when she became a viral sensation last spring, courtesy of a 15-second slow-motion clip showcasing her evasive maneuvers and fancy footwork while leaving at least three defenders in the dirt during Mexico’s 2022 national collegiate flag football championship.

“I never expected someone to record that moment,” said Mexico City native Flores, who led her team – the Monterrey Tech Borregos – to their third consecutive national title as a senior last May. “I was just having fun. I was just playing the game I love and then days later to see that it was viral on the internet — it was crazy. But at the same time, it was exciting because I remember when I was younger, I didn’t have a lot of flag football role models to follow. So now, for me to be a role model for many boys and girls that play my sport is something that really makes me happy and proud and also motivates me to keep getting better.”

Flores, who led the Mexico Women’s National Flag Football Team to a gold medal at the 2022 World Games, will have the chance to promote her sport on one of the world’s biggest stages this weekend when she serves as the AFC defensive coordinator for the NFL’s 2023 Pro Bowl Games, featuring the first-ever AFC vs. NFC Flag football games on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Organized in partnership with RCX Sports, the NFL’s flag football operating partner, and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), Sunday’s Pro Bowl event will feature three 7-on-7 AFC vs. NFC flag games. Each game will be 20 minutes in length (two halves) and played on a 50-yard field with 10-yard end zones. Flores will be joined by Peyton Manning as the AFC head coach and Ray Lewis as defensive coordinator. On the NFC side, U.S. Women’s National Flag Football team quarterback Vanita Krouch will serve as offensive coordinator, with Eli Manning as NFC head coach and DeMarcus Ware as defensive coordinator.

“I think that this has been one of the best things in my life,” she recently told On Her Turf about her Pro Bowl appointment. “It is like a dream. I mean, I grew up watching football, watching the NFL, playing flag football. And now to be able to be part of all of this — it is bigger than my biggest dreams.”

Flores’ football dreams began as when she was just 8 years old. Her father — who played quarterback for the perennial football powerhouse Monterrey Tech program — took her to a practice and she fell in love with the sport. But as the time there were no teams for girls her age, so she played with girls twice her age and used it to her advantage, focusing on her own abilities and sharpening her skills. By age 14 she was playing NFL Flag in Mexico, where she was the only girl in the league, and at 15 she started playing NFL Flag in the U.S, where she finally played on an all-girls team.

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: U.S. flag football star Vanita Krouch ‘living the dream’ ahead of NFL Pro Bowl debut as NFC coordinator

“I remember when I started playing, I used to receive a lot of like comments, directly and indirectly from other people, like, ‘Why do you play that sport? That’s not a girls’ sport, that sport is for boys, you’re get injured, you’re going to get hurt, don’t play with boys, that’s too rude.’ And the list keeps going. But my mom and dad were so supportive. They always encouraged me not to listen to anybody, to just follow my passion.

“And I think thanks to them, I’ve always had this mentality that gender doesn’t matter. It just matters how passionate you are about your dreams, how hard you work for what you want to achieve. And that you will always demonstrate what you’re made for, depending on the hard work you do. So, I’ve lived through that [negativity], I have experienced that. And I think that it has been one of my biggest blessings to be able to experience — for myself — what sport can do and how gender barriers get broken when you follow your dreams and you connect with other people through your passion.”

At just 16 years old, Flores made Mexico’s national team, playing in the first of four Flag Football World Championships – so far. Last summer at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, the 24-year-old Flores led Mexico to a 6-0 record, which included two wins over the U.S. women, who took silver. In the gold medal game against the United States, she completed 20 of 28 pass attempts for 210 yards and four touchdowns in Mexico’s 39-6 victory. She finished the tournament with 23 touchdown passes, the third-most among women’s teams, and she was the only starting quarterback to beat USA’s star QB, Krouch, who is 19-1 in international tournament play.

All that international experience so early in her career has given Flores a wise-beyond-her-years approach to playing flag football, a sport where she was frequently the only female player on the field and often the only Latin American as well.

“When I first came to the U.S., it was a little shocking to notice that I was probably the only Latin American girl playing,” she recalls. “But I think that it was easy for me because I got all the support from my coaches and my teammates. And since a young age, I think that I started to realize that sometimes what you do is for something bigger than yourself. That’s why you have to always give your best, in any situation. Even at that young age, I understood that I was representing more than myself on the field, I was representing Latin American people, Latin American girls in a sport that [many people thought] was meant to be for boys.”

RELATED: NFL still pushing for Olympic flag football with a chance ahead

One door Flores hopes to help open is the one leading to the Olympics. Flag football is on the short list being considered for inclusion in Los Angeles in 2028 Los Angeles. As an ambassador for flag football for the NFL and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), she’s participated in talks with the International Olympic Committee, and just last month she was joined by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden in Mexico City where they joined forced to promote women’s empowerment and inclusion.

“I think for me, that experience is one of my top three,” she said of spending time with Biden. “I call them gifts from life, something that you didn’t expect it to happen, and somehow, one day, you’re right there in front of the First Lady. I admire her for what she does for boys and girls, for empowering woman and giving opportunities for everybody to achieve their dreams. So it was truly an honor to meet her, and also to be able to keep impacting my sport, not only on the field, but [off] the field, and have the opportunity keep inspiring others and keep impacting the world.”

As for what she hopes fans at the Pro Bowl and viewers at home take away from Sunday’s flag football showcase, Flores hopes they’ll see the characteristics that made her fall in love with flag in the first place: creativity, speed, agility, teamwork, passion and a lot of heart.

“I hope to show to all little girls and women that dreams come true, that nothing is impossible, to keep inspiring and opening opportunities and doors for women in sports, especially in the world of the NFL and football and flag football,” she says. “We’re going to make history, and I am so proud and happy for that. I’m really hoping that it is just the first step, not only for me, but for all the women that are coming after me.”

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Flag football star Vanita Krouch ‘living the dream’ ahead of NFL Pro Bowl debut as NFC coordinator

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When Vanita Krouch got the news that she was named NFC defensive coordinator for the 2023 Pro Bowl Games, featuring the first-ever AFC vs. NFC Flag football games on Sunday, the U.S. Women’s National Flag Football team quarterback admits her jaw nearly hit the ground.

And then she realized something even more profound.

“For the longest time, thinking about the moment, everything, you’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is a dream come true. Is this really happening?’” said the 42-year-old Krouch, known as the “Tom Brady of flag football” with a 19-1 record as USA’s starting quarterback in international tournaments since 2018.

“But then I started thinking to myself: You know what? None of us grew up thinking of this as a dream to obtain. So really, it’s kind of reversed where I’m living a dream. I get to be a pioneer in this growth of flag football for all and inclusion for all, youth and adults, [women and men]. It’s such an inclusive sport, and I get to be a part of this growth and still actively play. It’s exciting. I’m literally living the dream. I’m very much like, ‘Guys, don’t pinch me. Let me keep sleeping.’”

Organized in partnership with RCX Sports, the NFL’s flag football operating partner, and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), Sunday’s Pro Bowl event will feature three 7-on-7 AFC vs. NFC flag games. Each game will be 20 minutes in length (two halves) and played on a 50-yard field with 10-yard end zones. Krouch will be joined by Eli Manning as NFC head coach and DeMarcus Ware as NFC defensive coordinator. On the AFC side, Mexico Women’s National Flag Football quarterback Diana Flores will serve as offensive coordinator, with Peyton Manning as head coach and Ray Lewis as defensive coordinator.

But Krouch’s journey to the Pro Bowl stage began under the unlikeliest of circumstances and was inspired by her own family odyssey, which began in Cambodia during the horrific regime of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. Krouch’s mother, Phonnary Krouch, fled the country with three young sons in tow, running by night and hiding by day to escape, finding safety initially at a refugee camp in the Philippines. That’s where she welcomed Vanita, in September 1980, and two months later the family made its way to the United States. Krouch’s father exited the picture upon their arrival in America, leaving Phonnary to raise four children alone.

“In a nutshell, my mom is an amazing woman,” said Krouch, who first found sports via an elementary school flyer advertising youth soccer in Carrollton, Texas. “On the journey, she had a lot of trials, tribulations, … and after our dad left us, it was just mom and four kids in this little one-bedroom apartment. So, it was a challenge. I’m just so amazed by her strength and will to never give up.”

She also credits her mom for standing up to then-stereotypical notions that Asian girls should not play sports.

“I’m just thankful, honestly, that my mom allowed me to break the Asian culture barriers of a woman playing sports because that’s not easy,” she said. “She faced a lot of backlash from the community. But she said, ‘Hey, my child’s making good grades. She’s healthy, she’s good. She’s staying off the streets. I don’t see a problem.’ And she just let me do it. I was just lucky to have a mom that let me spread my wings.”

Krouch also had a few mentors along the way. Her elementary school PE teacher, Toni Neibes, stepped in to pay for those initial soccer fees and continued her support as Krouch transitioned to basketball in the fourth grade. She fell in love with the sport and excelled at it as well, eventually earning a full scholarship to play college basketball at Southern Methodist University. She wears the No. 4 to this day in honor of Niebes, who wore the same number as a young athlete. She also credits her fourth-grade teacher, Judy Ward, as having a lasting impact after the teacher made a habit out of showing up for her youth basketball games.

She pays tribute to them both through her clothing line, 4Ward Apparel, which features ever-changing collections emblazoned with relevant slogans encouraging female empowerment, inclusion and her personal mantra of “paying it forward” – something she does with the line itself. Each month, Krouch donates a portion of the sales to individuals, families or organizations in need.

After graduating SMU in 2003, Krouch continued to play basketball in semi-pro and adult leagues, but she was still searching for something to satisfy her competitive drive. She and a former college teammate stumbled on flag football during a Google search for local Dallas-area activities, and the rest – as they say – is history.

“It was like I drank the Kool Aid and I never looked back,” she says of her start in flag in 2006. “It’s just like every game, every play is a new challenge, and it’s addictive for a competitor, so I just fell in love with flag. I actually think I’m way better at flag than I was at basketball.”

She moved into the quarterback position through some sly maneuvering by current USA Women’s Flag Football head coach Chris Lankford. They were playing together in a local tournament when he “tricked” her into the QB position, despite Krouch knowing “zero football language.”

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: U.S. freeskier Maggie Voisin gets candid about grief, loss and finding motivation on the mountain

“One day I showed up for a tournament and I asked, ‘All right, guys, who’s our quarterback?’ And he says, ‘We’re looking at her,’” she remembers. They kept the plays simple, and her team made it to the playoffs that season. Krouch has been a QB ever since.

Krouch joined the national team in 2016 and was inducted into the National Flag and Touch Football Hall Fame that same year. Last year at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, a 41-year-old Krouch set a new mark as the oldest Flag football player, man or woman, in the games, and she ranked second among women with 25 touchdown passes at the tournament where USA won silver.

She aims to bring that expertise to the field at the Pro Bowl games, where she’s looking forward to seeing NFL players take on the flag football style type of plays. “Flag is a very finesse, quick game, a lot of footwork, and these guys can’t grab or hold, no downfield contact or downfield block or anything off the line,” she explains. “So it’s going to be exciting just to see skill for skill, footwork for footwork, defense to offense, and to see flag football language with those type of elite athletes.”

As for the biggest challenge, Krouch believes it will be crafting a concise playbook and language that puts everyone on the same page. “A challenge for me is getting a coach’s mindset,” she adds, “I have to actually come up with plays ahead of time and I don’t usually have premeditated plays in my head. I just read it so for me to tell Kirk Cousins or Geno Smith [what to do], it will be different, you know?”

But beyond the Pro Bowl, Krouch is excited that flag is being considered for inclusion as an exhibition sport in the 2028 Summer Olympics. While she’s keeping a hopeful eye on that development, she’s also working to shape the next generation of potential athletes as a physical education teacher at La Villita Elementary in Irving, Texas.

RELATED: NFL still pushing for Olympic flag football with a chance ahead

“It’s an honor to be a role model – for other youth flag football players, for my students, both boys and girls,” says Krouch. “Then at my campus and in my community, it’s amazing to be able to break the barrier of like, ‘Asian women can’t do this.’ And then to be at my age, still doing this, I feel very lucky and blessed. …I think I still got some years in me.”

As for what she hopes viewers and fans walk away with after watching the Pro Bowl flag games this weekend, Krouch feels confident folks will walk away enlightened by the show.

“I just hope that they have fun with it,” says Krouch. “And for those who don’t know flag to be like, ‘Wow, that’s really amazing. Maybe that’s something I really can get my son or daughter into at a young age.’ So I just hope that they see that the sport is real – it’s not just something we play at recess. It’s a real thing now. I think they’ll see that the world loves it, the world can play it and is playing it.”

Be sure to check back with On Her Turf later this week when we catch up with AFC coordinator and Mexico Women’s National Flag Football Team quarterback Diana Flores.  

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