“I’m at a loss for words,” Faulhaber smiled from the finish area, “I’m on the verge of tears right now. I’m just, so stoked…I can’t believe it. I’m just so stoked to be up here, skiing this amazing pipe with these amazing people to be around. It’s amazing.”
Second place on the day went to Great Britain’s Zoe Atkin, as the 20-year-old claimed her second career World Championships podium by adding silver to her bronze medal from Aspen 2021. On her second run of the day Atkin stomped a run of left 540 mute, right 720 lead tail, switch left 720 safety, right 540 lead tail, right alley top 360 safety and finally a switch left alley-oop 360 for a final score of 94.50
Canada’s Rachel Karker rounded out the podium in third place, as the pre-event favourite walked away with her second World Championships medal – though likely not the one she was hoping for. Karker kicked the competition off strong in run one, putting down a right 900 Japan, left 900 Japan, right flair high safety, left 720 safety and finals finishing things off with a switch left alley-oop 360. However, a missed grab on her final hit likely hurt her score, and she would have to settle for a 92.25 and the bronze medal.
Mackay goes all in on run three for gutsy gold
Over on the men’s side of things proceedings got dramatic in run three, with a multitude of podium changes and some of the most exciting skiing we’ve seen over the course of these two weeks in Bakuriani.
None of the runs that went down on Saturday morning were more exciting than the final one from Brendan Mackay, however, as the 25-year-old stepped things up when they mattered most on his way to becoming the first Canadian in 12 years to claim halfpipe World Champs gold.
After leading the competition from run one through run two, Mackay found himself sitting in silver medal position before his final run after Finland’s Jon Sallinen put down an exceptional final effort of his own.
With all eyes on him, Mackay opened up his winning run with a switch left alley-oop double cork 900 critical, which he followed up with a switch left double 1080 safety, then a right 900 lead rail, and then a left double 1620 safety – the first time we’ve seen him stomp a 16 in competition, before finishing it off with an absolutely massive right double 1260 safety.