Seth Wescott

Olympic champion Seth Wescott’s van collides with moose

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Two-time Olympic snowboardcross gold medalist Seth Wescott walked away uninjured after his 2002 Volkswagen Eurovan struck a moose on a Maine road Thursday.

The moose collided into the passenger side of Wescott’s van around 1 a.m., according to reports.

“It did roughly $3,000 to $4,000 worth of damage,” Lt. David Rackliffe of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department told the Bangor (Maine) Daily News. “It appears that the moose actually ran into him.”

Despite the damage, Wescott, 37, managed to drive the rest of the way home, according to the newspaper. The Maine native posted this on his Facebook page:

“Welcome home to Maine.. Now here is a moose in your windshield to mess up your night.. Home safe but it looks like the eurovan is gonna have an insurance vacation at the VW garage.. Damn it..”

Apparently car-moose collisions are becoming a bit of an epidemic in the area, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Rackliffe said Wescott’s accident continues a busy summer of car-moose crashes in Franklin County.

“We actually did a couple of press releases on that [situation earlier this summer],” Rackliffe said. “From mid-June through mid-July, between us and state police who cover northern Franklin County, we documented more than 22 car-moose crashes in that roughly 30-day period.”

While there are plenty of moose in western Maine, Rackliffe termed the rash of crashes “extraordinarily high.”

Wescott is one of three Olympians trying to become the first American man to win the same Winter Olympic event three straight times (Bonnie Blair is the only U.S. woman to do it). He won the first two Olympic snowboardcross competitions in Sochi and Vancouver. Fellow snowboarder Shaun White (halfpipe) and speedskater Shani Davis (1,000 meters) also won in 2006 and 2010.

Wescott, if he makes the Olympic team, would be the last of the three to make the attempt. Men’s snowboardcross in Sochi is on Feb. 17, five days after Davis’ 1,000 and six days after White’s halfpipe.

Wescott underwent “a complete reconstruction” of his left ACL in April, according to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald. He fell into a crevasse while filming with Warren Miller for L.L. Bean.

“It allows me to start at ground zero and build myself up,” Wescott told the newspaper in May. “I know it’s going to be tight, but I know it’s entirely possible (to make it back for Sochi).”

Wescott had reconstructive surgery on his right knee in 2001 and tore a pectoral muscle in 2012.

Canada names its first 2014 Olympians

Simone Biles becomes honorary Houston Texans cheerleader

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The NFL’s Houston Texans may not be having the greatest season on the football field, but that hasn’t stopped one famous diehard fan from cheering them on.

On Sunday, Simone Biles took her fandom to the next level by debuting as an honorary Texans cheerleader before the team’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers.

game day feels ❤️ so excited to dance at the Houston Texans Game!

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officially ready for game day now that I got my legendary red boots 🏈

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As an added bonus, she also found time to take a few photos with NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon, a 7-foot center who once starred for the Houston Rockets.

This isn’t the first time that the Olympic gold medalist has teamed up with her hometown Texans. In 2016, Biles had the honor of announcing one of the team’s draft picks, and in 2015, she made this memorable entrance onto the field after a pre-game introduction.

Julia Marino, Jamie Anderson close in on Olympic snowboard team spots after second U.S. qualifier

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Julia Marino is within striking distance of qualifying for her first Olympic team. Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson is even closer.

Marino, who won four X Games medals in slopestyle and big air competitions last season, unleashed a frontside 720 and her signature cab double underflip to take second place in big air at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, the second of five qualifying events for the U.S. snowboard slopestyle and big air team.

Anderson, who received high marks for her cab 900 but lower scores for her frontside 720, finished off the podium in fourth. Because she and Marino were the only Americans to reach the final at Copper though, Anderson still received a valuable haul of Olympic selection points and maintains the lead in the overall rankings.

Although Marino’s cab double underflip received the highest score of the competition, riders in big air are scored on their two best tricks. That enabled Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi to take the win with a pair of solid jumps that included a backside 1080. Silje Norendal of Norway finished on the podium in third behind Iwabuchi and Marino.

In order to be named to the U.S. Olympic slopestyle and big air snowboarding team, riders must have a minimum of one podium finish at the selection events. If more than three riders attain podium finishes, then the tiebreaker will come down each rider’s two best results.

Marino and Anderson have both fulfilled the minimum criteria for automatic selection. Either of them could clinch spots on the Olympic team for both slopestyle and big air by finishing as the top U.S. rider at any of the remaining selection events. The next event will be a slopestyle contest next week in Breckenridge, Colo.

Meanwhile, the men’s big air competition had the potential to shake up the U.S. Olympic rankings, as none of the podium finishers from the first selection event reached the final at Copper.

After a disappointing result in that first qualifier, which was held at Mammoth Mountain last winter, Chris Corning bounced back to finish as the top American in this contest and second place overall. He landed a frontside 1440 and a massive backside triple cork 1440 on his two jumps, putting his own stylish twist on both tricks with melon grabs.

Corning, the 2015/16 World Cup champion in slopestyle, has emerged as perhaps the U.S. team’s top hope for an Olympic medal this year in both men’s slopestyle and big air, events typically dominated by riders from Canada and Norway. Now that he has his first selection event podium under his belt, he can clinch a spot on the Olympic team by finishing as the top American at any of the remaining contests.

Also earning a podium result with a third-place finish was 19-year-old Chandler Hunt, who has suddenly added his name to the U.S. Olympic discussion.

The victory in men’s big air went to Norway’s Mons Roisland, who stomped a switch backside 1620 and a frontside 1440 tail grab on his jumps.

Three more selection events for the slopestyle and big air team still remain, and all three will be slopestyle events. Dew Tour will host a selection event next week in Breckenridge, then there will be a break until Olympic qualifying resumes in January with competitions at Aspen and Mammoth.

U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Results

Men’s Snowboard Big Air
1. Mons Roisland (NOR), 182.75
2. Chris Corning (USA), 177.25
3. Chandler Hunt (USA), 159.00
4. Ryan Stassel (USA), 154.50
5. Max Parrot (CAN), 121.50

Women’s Snowboard Big Air
1. Reira Iwabuchi (JPN), 169.25
2. Julia Marino (USA), 160.25
3. Silje Norendal (NOR), 156.75
4. Jamie Anderson (USA), 151.50
5. Sina Candrian (SUI), 135.50

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
1. Red Gerard, 1400*
2. Chris Corning, 1200*
3. Chandler Hunt, 1160*
4. Kyle Mack, 1000*
5. Judd Henkes, 1000

Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle/Big Air
1. Jamie Anderson, 1800*
2. Julia Marino, 1600*
3. Hailey Langland, 1300*
4. Jessika Jenson, 1050
5. Nora Healey, 950

*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result.