ROSA KHUTOR — Canada's Dara Howell soared as several of her top rivals crashed out Tuesday to win the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women's ski slopestyle.
Howell's first run combined speed and big air for an almost unheard-of score of 94.20 points in the discipline.
After several star names failed to make the final and others crashed out, the silver medal went to Devin Logan of the U.S. with a score of 85.40, with the bronze for Canadian Kim Lamarre with 85.00.
Howell, from Ontario, was competing with two stitches in her nose after a bizarre incident in which she knocked a bedside lamp onto her face after waking up.
Lamarre recovered from a fall on her first run to produce a solid second attempt, knocking Australia's Anna Segal off the podium.
There were worries as Canada's Yuki Tsubota crashed hard in the final, landing short of the slope on jump and bouncing onto her back. Tsubota, a former hockey player, did not seem to move and was stretchered off the slope. A Canadian team spokesman later said that she was not seriously injured.
Slopestyle's first Olympic showing has come amid controversy over the course, which was altered to lower the height of the jumps in light of complaints from snowboarders last week that it was unsafe.
Ski slopestyle's first Olympic final was deprived of many of the sport's biggest talents due to injuries, illness and simple failure on the slope.
Four time Winter X-Games champion Kaya Turski of Canada was the hot favorite before the competition, but had been struggling with a virus and fell on both of her qualifying runs, ending her charge for a medal.
"I've had a really rough two weeks actually. I've been sick," she said. "I struggled pretty hard this morning and I'm just glad it's over."
Germany's Lisa Zimmermann, 17, had been one of the most innovative skiers this season, becoming the first woman to land a twice inverted spin in competition, but could not knit together a clean run in qualifying.
Before the competition, a broken arm ended Olympic hopes for 15-year-old U.S. prodigy Maggie Voisin, and a training crash laid low X-Games silver medalist Tiril Sjastad Christiansen.