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Nick Goepper, triple Olympic medalist, unretires, switches events

Nick Goepper

BEIJING, CHINA - February 16: Nicholas Goepper of the United States celebrates his silver medal win during the Men’s Freeski Slopestyle Final at Genting Snow Park during the Winter Olympic Games on February 16th, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Corbis via Getty Images

Three-time Olympic ski slopestyle medalist Nick Goepper is unretiring to compete in ski halfpipe.

“My main inspiration is I love doing this,” he said by phone Friday, 10 months after announcing a retirement from slopestyle. “It took me a while to kind of find the love again. ... I like new challenges, and I was really bored.”

Goepper, 29, said he plans to compete at an international event in Copper Mountain, Colorado, next month. He hopes to receive an invite to January’s Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, the biggest annual event in freeskiing.

He also hopes to make the 2026 Olympics in halfpipe. The team is expected to be four men. Last year, all four of the U.S. men placed in the top seven at the Olympics, led by silver medalist David Wise and bronze medalist Alex Ferreira.

Goepper announced a retirement last January after winning a medal in each of the first three Olympic ski slopestyle competitions -- bronze in the event’s debut in 2014 and silver in 2018 and 2022.

He previously dabbled in halfpipe, placing first and second in lower-level Nor-Am Cups in February 2017. Others have competed in slope and pipe simultaneously, notably Olympic medalists Eileen Gu and Gus Kenworthy.

“The tricks translate almost directly,” from slopestyle to halfpipe, Goepper said. “It’s just gaining the fundamentals of skiing in the halfpipe takes time and dedication.”

No American has won a medal in an individual event at four different Winter Olympics.

"[Winning three Olympic medals] is something I never dreamed of,” Goepper, who was 17 when the IOC added slopestyle to the Olympic program in 2011, said after last year’s medal. “If you asked me as a 16-year-old if this is what would be happening right now, I would tell you that you’re crazy.”

Goepper, from the small farming town of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, started out selling candy bars and mowing lawns to pay for ski passes at a nearby resort (“a glorified bunny hill”), a determination that eventually led to major corporate sponsorships.