By Houston Mitchell and Lisa Dillman
12:02 PM PST, February 12, 2014
SOCHI, Russia -- It wasn't supposed to end up this way, but Kaitlyn Farrington is glad it did.
The U.S. snowboarder defeated favorites Kelly Clark and Torah Bright to win the gold medal in women's halfpipe at the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday.
Her second-run score of 91.75 gave her a narrow win over Australia's Bright, who scored 91.50. Clark, also of the U.S., won bronze with a score of 90.75, just edging U.S. teammate Hannah Teter, who finished fourth with 90.50.
Said Teter: "Who would have known she was going to win this thing? I don’t think anybody knew that was coming. Surprise, Surprise."
Not only did Farrington have to go through qualifying, semifinals and the final, six runs, in all, she beat the last three Olympic champions, Bright, Teter and Clark.
"It was crazy. Sitting at the bottom, I was stoked," Farrington said. "I landed my run and to have to watch all the other Olympians come down, I was stoked I landed my run. Once I knew I was on the podium, I was gonna be happy either way.
"I was hoping to make finals and that was kind of my main goal. Then during finals, I was kind of like, if I land a good run, I might be on the podium. And so to come out on top, I just can't believe it.
"I can't believe I was sitting there in front of the last three gold medalist. It’s crazy."
Clark was the heavy favorite, having finished in the top three in 28 of the last 34 competitions.
"It's a very difficult situation to fall first run in a final," said Clark, a four-time Olympian. "To be able to land my last run, last person to go, in an Olympic final, is a huge achievement for me. That wasn't my cleanest, best run I've ever done. But for me, that was my best tonight. It landed me on the podium and I'm thankful."
Teter was heartbroken over just missing out on a medal.
"Fourth is the worst position to finish, if you wanted to know," Teter said. "You’ve just missed the podium. I missed it by point two."
Perhaps the most excited about Farrington's victory was her dad, Gary.
"Something very special just happened," he said. "My phone is vibrating so hard. It hasn’t stopped. I thought it was me."
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