Islander Teal Harle wins silver at big air freestyle World Cup in China

The ultimate ambition is to do it again in just over two years back in Beijing.

Teal Harle of Campbell River won the silver medal Saturday in the men’s big air ski freestyle World Cup event at the venue where the 2022 Winter Olympics competition will be held. It was the first event staged at the future Olympic venue.

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It continued the medal rush from Mount Washington-produced athletes, highlighted by the women’s ski half-pipe gold medal won by Cassie Sharpe of Comox in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The 2018 Games were a breakthrough triumph for Mount Washington as the Island hill produced Sharpe, Harle, slopestyler and big-air snowboarder Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay and snowboard cross-racer Carle Brenneman of Comox for those Winter Olympics.

That’s not bad for an Island better known for producing Summer Olympians.

Harle showed Saturday he has no intention of letting up as he builds to Beijing 2022. The Islander landed the first Switch 1,800 of his career, a jump that includes five full rotations, to place second behind Birk Rudd of Norway and ahead of bronze-medallist Jasper Tjader of Sweden.

“It was very rewarding,” said Harle, in a statement.

“I knew it was going to be difficult tonight as Birk and I traded the lead throughout the night.”

Harle is proving to be a performer in the clutch. The Islander originally showed it when he nailed a last-chance jump in the final 2018 Olympic qualifier in Mammoth, Colorado, to advance to Pyeongchang for his first Olympics. At the time, that was only his second career World Cup event. It’s becoming evident there will be plenty more.

Top Canadian women’s result Saturday in Beijing was the sixth place by 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics gold-medallist slopestyler Dara Howell of Huntsville, Ont.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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