SOCHI, Russia >> The cowgirl got the gold.
Kaitlyn Farrington, the 24-year-old daughter of ski bums in Sun Valley, Idaho, produced the run of her life Wednesday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
What resulted was a newly minted Olympic champion in the women’s halfpipe who was not even a highly decorated snowboarder with a host of X Games wins or a trendy clothing line.
Her second-run score of 91.75 gave her a narrow win over Torah Bright of Australia, who had 91.50. Kelly Clark, also of the U.S., won bronze with a score of 90.75, edging U.S. teammate Hannah Teter, who was fourth with 90.50.
Not only did Farrington have to go through qualifying, semifinals and the final, six runs in all, she defeated the last three Olympic champions, Bright, Teter and Clark. Her winning run, long on style and strong on technique, included a back 9.
“I was hoping to make finals and that was kind of my main goal,” Farrington said. “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 medalists. It’s crazy.”
Farrington’s parents, Gary and Suz, ran the gamut of emotions as they watched their daughter. They financed their daughter’s snowboarding career in the early days, in part, by selling their cows.
Suz held up a sign with Kaitlyn’s picture that said, “Cowgirl Up,” a phrase for motivation when Kaitlyn used to be a swimmer.
Apparently, it had staying power.
“Something very special just happened,” Gary said. “My phone is vibrating so hard. It hasn’t stopped. I thought it was me. I’m going to ignore it for a while.”
And Farrington’s plans for Wednesday night?
“I’m gonna dance my face off,” she said. “Wild style.”