Who is Kevin Rolland?
Photo: U.S. Freeskiing|
December 06, 2017 03:56 PM
Name: Kevin Rolland
2016/17 AFP halfpipe ranking: 2nd
- 2014 Olympic halfpipe bronze medalist
- 6-time X Games halfpipe medalist (3 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)
- 3-time AFP halfpipe champion (2011, 2014, 2016)
- 3-time FIS World Cup halfpipe champion (2009, 2016, 2017)
At the inaugural Olympic competition for ski halfpipe in 2014, Rolland won a bronze medal.
Men's freeski halfpipe has a deep field of contenders who could win this event. Throughout the years though, Rolland has been one of the sport's most consistent skiers, so he'll be one of the leading favorites in PyeongChang. Whichever four skiers make the U.S. team will provide difficult competition, as will as his own French teammate Ben Valentin.
The huge amplitude that Rolland showcases in his runs has justifiably earned him a nickname: "The Flying Frenchman."
Rolland's grandmother first got him on skis when he was 18 months old. He eventually became a mogul skier and was having success, but says that he didn't like being restricted to just moguls. What he really enjoyed about moguls was the jumps, so he instead started to concentrate on freeskiing when he was a teenager. It wasn't long before he won the 2007 junior world title in halfpipe at 17 years old. Two years later, he got a gold medal at the world championships. That was followed by his first X Games victory in 2010.
The success has continued for Rolland in the years since the last Olympics. He won two more X Games medals (silver in 2015, gold in 2016) and has consistently remained near the top of the rankings of both the AFP (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) and the FIS World Cup.
2016/17 season recap
Rolland won the FIS World Cup title for the third time in his career, narrowly beating out compatriot Ben Valentin. He was unable to defend his AFP title though, losing out to U.S. skier Aaron Blunck. Rolland placed fourth at the Olympic test event that was held in PyeongChang before ending the season with a bronze medal at the world championships.
Off the snow
Rolland enjoys freediving, a type of underwater diving where participants hold their breath for extended periods of time instead of using scuba equipment. It's become his "second passion" after skiing, and he says that he's been able to hold his breath underwater for as long as five minutes.
Updated: December 06, 2017 03:56 PM
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