Who is Torin Yater-Wallace?
Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC Sports|
December 04, 2017 06:24 PM
Name: Torin Yater-Wallace
Country: United States
2016/17 AFP halfpipe ranking: 6th
- 5-time X Games halfpipe medalist (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)
- 2012 AFP halfpipe champion
Four years ago, Yater-Wallace was one of Team USA's most promising medal hopefuls in ski halfpipe. But he got injured during the one of the selection events, and though he still made the Olympic team as the coaches' discretionary selection, he wasn't at full strength in Sochi and fell on both of his qualifying runs. He finished 26th out of 28 skiers.
Yater-Wallace is still a threat to win any contest he enters, including the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics. That can be said about quite a few halfpipe skiers in the field though, including several of his U.S. teammates.
When it comes to amplitude in the halfpipe, Yater-Wallace is one of the best. He boosts massive, crowd-pleasing airs and can throw huge double corks.
The Aspen native started skiing before he even reached his second birthday. He progressed into mogul skiing when he was 7, but changed his focus to halfpipe and slopestyle five years later as freeskiing grew in popularity. He began to garner a considerable amount of attention at age 14 after winning the Free Flow Tour, a former amateur series that served as a springboard to the pro ranks, in 2010. That qualified him to compete on the Winter Dew Tour the following season.
Yater-Wallace earned his first X Games invite in 2011. In front of his hometown crowd in Aspen, the 15-year-old put down an impressive run to earn a silver medal. It marked the first major podium result of his career.
In 2012, Yater-Wallace became the first skier to land a switch 1800 — a big trick that involves taking off backwards, spinning five full rotations, then landing backwards — in a slopestyle run. Despite that, he has competed in slopestyle contests very rarely since then, instead focusing on halfpipe.
Though Yater-Wallace had already experienced his fair share of injuries, it was a medical diagnosis in 2015 that presented him with his most serious challenge yet. After checking himself into a hospital because of flu-like symptoms, the doctors discovered a gall bladder infection and liver abcess that was caused by a strep infection. He spent the next 10 days in a medically-induced coma before waking up, 20 pounds lighter but determined to make a comeback. It was two months before he was cleared to ski again, but it didn't take long after that for Yater-Wallace to return to form with a halfpipe victory at X Games Oslo in February 2016.
2016/17 season recap
Yater-Wallace only competed four times last season, but he did come away with two notable victories. In February, he topped the podium at the Mammoth Grand Prix, which served as the first U.S. Olympic selection event for ski halfpipe. Two weeks later, he claimed victory in PyeongChang at the Olympic test event that was held there.
Off the snow
In the summers, Yater-Wallace enjoys skateboarding. He started dating Olympic ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson in 2014.
"That was a pretty big bummer. But, you know what, you get hurt sometimes. The stars don't align. And it's all good. I went on to still have success at other events. So after all the hype, it was a pretty big bummer. But you live on, you get over it. But for sure that'll always sit in the back of my mind. So luckily I'll get some more shots and hopefully go to this Olympics, and as long as I do better than 26[th] and don't collapse my lungs, that'll be pretty great." — Torin Yater-Wallace on his struggles in 2014 and his hopes for 2018
Updated: December 04, 2017 06:24 PM
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