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Olympics preview: Torin Yater-Wallace talks new event ski halfpipe

Ski halfpipe, the ski version of the event that made Shaun White a household name, makes its Olympic debut in Sochi on Feb. 18 (qualification and the final stream live on NBCOlympics.com at 8:45 a.m. ET and 12:30 p.m. ET, respectively, ahead of NBC’s primetime coverage; the women compete Feb. 20).

Torin Yater-Wallace — just one of EW’s Athletes to Watch on Team USA – began skiing in his native Aspen before he was 2 years old. In 2011, at the age of 15, he was the youngest male to ever medal at the Winter X Games. He’s built a nice hardware collection since then, but his road to Russia was rough: He sat out the X Games finals last month to continue recovering from a long December that dealt him a twice-collapsed right lung, two broken ribs, and a total of three-and-a-half weeks in the hospital (including his 18th birthday). “I’ve never gone through that much stuff, especially so much that had to do with the trauma center,” he told EW before heading to Sochi. “With your lungs and your ribs, it’s all so close to your heart, you have to be so closely monitored. It kinda freaked me out, but I’m feeling really good now.” He won a test event in Sochi last year. Who doesn’t love a comeback story?

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