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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Ashley Wagner leads U.S. 1-2 at Skate America

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Ashley Wagner bolstered her international reputation again, winning Skate America on Saturday in her first top-level full competition since her world championships silver medal in April.

Wagner totaled 196.44 points over two programs in Hoffman Estates, Ill., holding off countrywoman Mariah Bell by 4.85 points. U.S. champion Gracie Gold was fifth. Full results are here.

“The short program was definitely one of my world-class programs,” Wagner said on NBC. “Long program, I left a little bit out on the table.”

Wagner, who led by 3.75 points after Friday’s short program, was flawed in her free skate, including singling the back end of a jump combination and under-rotating two more jumps.

Still it was enough to overtake Bell, who had the highest free skate score by 3.73 points but was sixth in the short program.

It marked the first U.S. women’s one-two in a Grand Prix event since 2012 Skate America (Wagner and Christina Gao).

“I’m starting to realize my own potential and believe in myself,” Bell, who shares a coach with Wagner, said on NBC. “I’m very excited for the future.”

Gold fell in both of her programs as she tries to bounce back from dropping from first to fourth at last season’s world championships. Gold had her lowest Grand Prix finish (excluding Grand Prix Final) since her debut at 2012 Skate Canada.

Wagner notched her fifth career Grand Prix series win (only Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen own more among U.S. women). Wagner joined Kwan as the only women to bag multiple Skate America and U.S. Championships titles.

The women Wagner must be compared with are Russian teens. Wagner ended a 10-year U.S. medal drought at worlds last year, but Russia still rules women’s skating.

None of the top Russians competed at Skate America. Wagner is slated to face 2015 World gold and bronze medalists Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Yelena Radionova at her next event, Cup of China, in four weeks.

The reigning world champion, Yevgenia Medvedeva, makes her Grand Prix season debut at Skate Canada next week. Medvedeva and Wagner could go head-to-head at the Grand Prix Final in Marseille, France, in December.

Earlier Saturday, Japan’s Shoma Uno topped the men’s short program with 89.15 points, landing one of his two quadruple jump attempts.

Uno, 18, was followed by the last two U.S. champions, Adam Rippon (87.32, no quads) and Jason Brown (85.75, fall on single quad attempt).

The men’s free skate is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET (NBC and NBC Sports app).

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Simone Schaller, oldest living Olympian, dies at 104

FILE - In this July 15, 1936, file photo, Simone Schaller, lower right, waves with members of the United States women's Olympic track and field team as they depart for Europe on the SS Manhattan. Schaller, an American hurdler who competed at the 1932 and 1936 Summer Games and was believed to be the oldest living Olympian, died of natural causes Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016,  in the Arcadia, Calif., home she and her husband built when they married in the 1930s, her grandson Jeffrey Hardy said, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. She was 104. (AP Photo/File)
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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Simone Schaller, an American hurdler who competed at the 1932 and 1936 Summer Games and was believed to be the oldest living Olympian, has died. She was 104.

Grandson Jeffrey Hardy said Saturday that Schaller died of natural causes Thursday in the home she and her husband built when they married in the 1930s.

Schaller tied Babe Didrikson Zaharias for the world record in the first round of the 80-meter hurdles at the 1932 Los Angeles Games. Schaller finished fourth in the final behind Didrikson, who set another record. According to Olympic historian David Wallechinsky, Schaller had taken up hurdling only three months earlier.

At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Schaller made it to the semifinals.

She won the hurdles at the 1933 U.S. Championships. She was also an avid tennis player.

Schaller had three children, seven grandchildren, a dozen great-grandchildren and numerous great-great-grandchildren.

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