Hailey Langland is competing in her first Olympics at the 2018 games in Pyeongchang. The 17-year-old snowboarder has already had success at the X Games, winning a gold medal in big air at the 2017 Winter X Games in Norway and a bronze medal in slopestyle at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen.
Langland was just 16-years-old when she made her debut at the X Games in 2016. She was the youngest snowboarder at the event. Langland also has experience at the Young Olympic games, finishing eighth in slopestyle and ninth in the halfpipe at the 2016 Lillehammer Games. She also finished first in two different slopestyle qualifying events leading up to the games. Langland will try and continue her rise to snowboarding stardom at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Langland Made History in Big Air at the 2017 Winter X Games
At X Games Aspen 2017, Langland landed a “cab 1080 double cork”, the first time that trick has been successfully executed in a women’s competition. She went on to win gold in big air, the first gold medal of her international career. She also competed in slopestyle but missed out on the podium, finishing fourth overall. Langland also competed at X Games Norway in 2017, finishing sixth in slopestyle. She made her X Games debut in Aspen in 2016, making the podium and winning bronze in slopestyle.
In 2015, Langland solidified her place as one of the up-and-coming American snowboarders, winning the Grand Prix in slopestyle at Mammoth Mountain in her home state of California. One year earlier, Langland won another slopestyle event at Mammoth Mountain while competing on the U.S. Revolution Tour. She has competed in two World Cup events and has reached the podium once. Langland considers Mammoth Mountain her “home turf“.
2. She Will Compete in a New Olympic Sport in 2018
It’s the first time big air has been an Olympic event as the sport of snowboarding continues to expand on the international stage. It’s considered an extreme version of slopestyle in which riders use a manufactured hill to perform complex tricks in the air.
Snowboarding made its Olympic debut at the Nagano Games in 1998 with giant slalom and halfpipe. After a successful start, the sport returned to Salt Lake City in 2002 with parallel giant slalom and halfpipe competitions. In 2006, snowboard cross also made its debut. Slopestyle made it’s debut at the Sochi Games in 2014. There are currently 10 events listed on the Olympic website for snowboarding, five men’s and five women’s events. The events include: parallel giant slalom, halfpipe, snowboard cross, slopestyle and big air.
3. Langland Comes From Multiracial Parents
Her mother (Michelle) is Filipino-American and her father (Geoff) is white. Hailey was born in the beach town of San Clemente, California. She was introduced to snowboarding by her father at the age of five at Bear Mountain Resort. Geoff Langland moved the family to Big Bear when Hailey was 10-years-old so she could get more time on the slopes. He sent a video of Hailey to a Vermont-based snowboard company which led to Hailey’s first sponsorship.
Michelle Langland works at Advanced Optics as a regional sales manager, according to her LinkedIn page. She is also active on Facebook and has posted several photos of the family together. Geoff and Michelle Langland currently reside back in California. Hailey also has one younger brother, Seth.
4. She Wants to Attend College and Become a Journalist
Langland is unable to attend regular high school because of her snowboarding schedule and she is currently home schooled by her parents. She also takes classes online. “I have a lot of friend who don’t really do too much, and I always think about how lucky I am that when they’re in school, I’m traveling on a plane somewhere where people may never go in their whole lifetime,” Langland told NBC.
Despite her lack of a formal education, Langland already has plans after graduating from the Olympics. “After the Olympics, I really want to jump into filming,” Langland told NBC. Away from the slopes, Langland stays active on the waves and is an avid surfer. She also is a cyclist. Her real passion however is film. Langland’s Instagram is filled with videos of snowboarding. Langland is very active on social media and has almost 60,000 Instagram followers.
5. Langland Owns an Adorable Husky Named Denver
Langlan’s dog is extremely photogenic, and she takes full advantage of it. The pooch is all over Langland’s instagram page. The duo also has their own page on Team USA’s Olympic website.
Denver has heterochromia iridis, a genetic default when a living being has two different color eyes. The trait is seen more often in dogs than humans. Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer is one of the most well known athletes to also have the trait.