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.

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Clay Stanley the latest 2008 Olympic champion to retire from volleyball

Clay Stanley
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Clay Stanley announced his retirement, becoming the latest member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic champion team to bow out from indoor volleyball.

Stanley, 38, played in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics and was MVP and Best Server at the 2008 Beijing Games, where the U.S. earned gold for the first time in 20 years.

“When he first came to the USA gym, he was kind of a blunt instrument,” 2008 U.S. men’s coach Hugh McCutcheon said, according to USA Volleyball. “At the end of the 2008 quad, he could do so many things at a high level. He became one of the best in the world at his position”

Stanley was one of the older members of the 2012 Olympic team that lost in the quarterfinals. Stanley picked up a knee injury in London and never again played in a major tournament for the U.S.

“We reached a level with my knee that we couldn’t get past,” Stanley said, according to USA Volleyball. “If I can’t be ready to play right now then I’ve got to shut it down. We did everything we could and that’s that.”

Stanley’s retirement follows that of 2008 Olympic teammates Reid Priddy and David Lee, who both made the Rio Games their final national-team appearance, according to The Associated Press, though Priddy hopes to transition to beach volleyball.

VIDEO: Top volleyball moments of Rio Olympics

Patrick Chan plans to retire after 2018 Olympic season

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Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan said he plans to make the 2017-18 figure skating season his last, as expected.

“Yes, I have many projects lined up ahead after my competitive career,” Chan told media Wednesday.

Chan, at 25, is arguably young enough to keep skating beyond the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, which would be his third Winter Games.

But the three-time world champion (2011, 2012, 2013), who is currently coach-less following the surprise resignation of Kathy Johnson earlier this month, is in awe of the jumps that younger skaters are throwing.

“Honestly, just look at [Japanese] Shoma’s [Uno] quad flip,” Chan joked with media. “That’s enough of an answer to just be like, yeah, this is my time. I’m going to leave on a high.”

Chan earned silver at the 2014 Olympics behind Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, then took one season off from competition.

He returned last year, beating Hanyu at Skate Canada but finishing a disappointing fifth at the world championships after a disastrous free skate. That marked his worst worlds finish since his debut in 2008 as a 17-year-old.

Chan said before last season’s worlds that his performance there would determine whether he continued skating through the 2018 Olympics.

“I’m at a disadvantage now, technically,” Chan said in March. “I’m competing against men who are doing five quads between the short program and the long program, and I’m at three between the two programs. Who would ever imagine that three wasn’t enough for some people?”

Chan remains the best Canadian skater. He won his eighth national title last year.

Chan will make his Grand Prix series debut at Skate Canada the last weekend of October, against a field that again includes Hanyu.

MORE: 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships host set