Rocket man Longino inspired by Elton John on way to freeski halfpipe gold

LAUSANNE, Jan 21 – Andrew Longino (CAN) won the freestyle skiing men’s halfpipe event on Tuesday with a little help from Elton John.

“To stay calm before going down I always listen to music, it’s a huge part of my preparation,” Longino said. “Usually it’s rap music, something like that.

“Today I was listening to Rocket Man by Elton John before dropping in on the last run. I was watching the Rocket Man film on the plane over and I got hyped on it. It’s amazing. It inspired me.”

Andrew Longino (CAN) in action in the men's freestyle skiing halfpipe | Simon Bruty for OISphotos.com

Longino was head and shoulders above the rest of the field on Tuesday, with all three of his final runs scoring high enough to secure the gold medal. He left the best until last though, with a score of 94.00.

Hunter Carey (USA) got the silver while Luca Harrington (NZL) took bronze.

“The day was perfect,” Longino said. “It’s one of my favourite-ever days I’ve had in the pipe. I was feeling good, the weather was good, sometimes you’re just on.

“I was landing everything, having such a good time, I am so stoked. This has been an amazing experience for me.”

Steven Kahnert (CAN), who finished 8th, was in awe of his teammate’s runs. “He has been awesome, insane, he is just firing right now,” he said.

“What makes him so good is that he goes for the hardest technical tricks and he is just so clean on them.”

Longino was also delighted by the enthusiastic crowd at Leysin Park & Pipe, which contained a large number of schoolchildren watching the action.

Spectators at the Leysin Park halfpipe | Bob Martin for OISphotos.com

“It’s just so cool seeing all these kids on trips up the mountain, coming to watch,” he said. “Everywhere you go, they give you high fives and say hello. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

“When I was a kid, I used to watch skiing World Cups and other events on my home mountain in Calgary, and that really got me interested. So hopefully we have inspired some of these kids to try the halfpipe today.”

OIS nm/kc/sg

By Olympic Information Service

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