Halfpipe

Shaun White has halfpipe, slopestyle training course built in Australia (photos)

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Remember the private halfpipe Red Bull built for Shaun White in Colorado before the Vancouver Olympics?

Well, White has a new personal playground. This time, it’s in Australia, courtesy of another one of his sponsors, GoPro, and Snow Park Technologies.

“GoPro worked with Snow Park Technologies to build a custom halfpipe and slopestyle features for Shaun’s Olympic training,” a GoPro media relations manager said in an email. “GoPro and SPT scouted many locations across the globe, the spot in Australia was chosen based upon conditions and timing.”

White was at the Perisher site training Tuesday, GoPro said.

Talk circulated the last couple weeks with photos surfacing with a watermark of the website, snowflakegallery.com.au.

On Monday, news.com.au posted an article linking the training ground to “exclusive use” by the two-time Olympic halfpipe champion.

Here’s what we know. Someone has built a really, really massive halfpipe in a steep part of Perisher which can’t be seen from the base of the resort.

It has taken dozens of machines to push around the remnants of the winter snowpack to build this thing in the October heat. A state-of-the-art pipe-cutter, rumoured to be worth a quarter of a million dollars, is also hard at work. It’s all terribly mysterious.

White’s band, Bad Things, has its debut album set to come out Oct. 29. He said he’s going back on tour with the band before the Olympics, but the only upcoming date on its website is Nov. 2 at the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans.

White is slated for his busiest Olympics yet with the addition of slopestyle snowboarding to the program. He’s not the favorite to win gold in that event, so it’s good that this site has a slopestyle layout, too.

Australia is home to the reigning Olympic women’s halfpipe champion, Torah Bright, and the 2011 world champion in men’s halfpipe, Nathan Johnstone.

“I’d like to ask Shaun if we can come ride it when he’s finished,” Johnstone told news.com.au with a laugh.

U.S. Olympic hopeful out at least 6 months after breaking neck in snowboard crash

IPC president: Now is the right time to have Paralympics in Brazil

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International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven said the upcoming Paralympic Games, which open in 100 days, could not be going to a better city than Rio de Janeiro.

“Many people might think that it’s not the time to go there now with the economic and political problems,” Craven said in a phone interview last week. “But is that not just the right time to be going, to just show what sport can truly do to mobilize and galvanize a people?”

And the Zika virus?

“We believe that the measures that have been communicated on a regular basis, reiterated to our member nations, will be effective, and the Zika virus will not have a major effect on the Games,” Craven said.

The Paralympics will visit South America for the first time in their 15th edition. The Rio Games, which run from Sept. 7-18, will have more broadcast coverage than ever and an expected record number of athletes and nations in the largest number of sports on a single Paralympic program.

NBC and NBCSN will air a record 66 hours of coverage of the Games. The USOC will provide live coverage at TeamUSA.org, too.

How the Paralympics will deal with the well-known issues facing Brazil will be largely impacted by how the preceding Olympics handle them.

But one issue unique to the Paralympics came to light four weeks ago.

A British Paralympic champion swimmer was disqualified from a European Championships event because his Olympic rings tattoo was not covered (he later competed at the meet with the tattoo covered).

An International Paralympic Committee swimming rule states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”

The rule will cover all sports at the Rio Paralympics. Craven said he has not heard of any appeals by para-athletes to change the rule.

The IPC will take a “common-sense approach” to enforcing the rule in Rio to make sure there are no disqualifications by communicating thoroughly to national committees, Craven said.

“IPC has got very strict rules for the Paralympic Games and for other events prohibiting body advertisements, and this includes tattoos for commercial brands and non-IPC symbols, such as the Olympic rings,” Craven said. “These rules were emphasized, re-emphasized to all competing teams and swimmers at that particular event, and, similarly, we’ll be doing so prior to the Games in Rio.”

Some Paralympians identify themselves as Olympians, too — some have event competed in both Games — but Craven made the difference clear.

The 65-year-old, five-time Paralympic wheelchair basketball player likened Olympic rings tattoos at the Paralympics to an NFL player with an NBA team tattoo.

Craven added that there has been no pressure from the IOC regarding the rule and that he would expect a hypothetical Paralympian competing at the Olympics to cover up a tattoo of the Agitos, which is the Paralympic logo.

“We want Paralympic athletes to show pride in promoting the Paralympic movement, including our symbol, which is the Agitos, which is very different from the Olympic rings,” Craven said. “When you have a Paralympic athlete, a para-athlete sporting a branding from another event, then it just creates confusion. It creates confusion for the IPC. It creates confusion for the IOC.”

MORE: Paralympic champ long jumper still hopes to be allowed into Olympics

First four U.S. Olympic archers qualified; Khatuna Lorig waits

Khatuna Lorig
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The first four U.S. Olympic archers for Rio are known, while Khatuna Lorig will learn in three weeks if she makes her sixth Olympic team.

A full men’s team of 2012 Olympic team silver medalists Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski and first-time Olympian Zach Garrett earned their spots at the U.S. Olympic Trials that ended Monday.

Mackenzie Brown clinched her first Olympic berth by winning the women’s trials Monday.

The U.S. can send two more women to Rio if it qualifies a full team at a World Cup event in Turkey in three weeks. Those two women would be Hye Youn Park and Lorig.

Lorig, 42, is best known for teaching archery to Jennifer Lawrence before “The Hunger Games.” Lorig also competed in the 1992 Olympics for the Unified Team, the 1996 and 2000 Games for Georgia and the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the U.S.

Lorig earned team bronze at Barcelona 1992 and finished fifth and fourth individually at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic team alternates are Daniel McLaughlin and La Nola Pritchard.

MORE: Full list of athletes qualified for U.S. Olympic team