Shaun White

Shaun White crashes; Jamie Anderson earns Olympic berth

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Shaun White crashed in his first run and aborted his second run midway through in the third of five Olympic selection events in slopestyle snowboarding in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., on Thursday.

Here is video of White’s crash.

No U.S. man has clinched one of three automatic U.S. Olympic spots in slopestyle yet. White fell from first place to fourth place in Olympic selection standings but can clinch his spot with a win in either of the final two events later Thursday and Saturday.

Even if he does not automatically qualify, White can be named to the Olympic Team in slopestyle as a discretionary selection. White has also yet to qualify in halfpipe, whose competitions also wrap up in Mammoth Mountain this weekend.

Jamie Anderson clinched the first U.S. Olympic berth in slopestyle snowboarding by winning the third of five women’s events earlier Thursday.

Anderson, 23, is the two-time reigning Winter X Games champion and a gold-medal contender in Sochi.

She won Friday with 92.7 points in her first of two runs, edging Karly Shorr by 2.9 points.

Shorr was a surprise, scoring her first top-four result of Olympic selection events. A top-four result is needed to have a chance at automatically qualifying for the Olympic Team.

Ty Walker was third to remain in second place in the Olympic selection standings, which add up the two best results by riders.

Ryan Stassel won the men’s event with 95 points in his second run. Sage Kotsenburg was second with 92.6 points. Chas Guldemond was third and moved to the top of Olympic selection standings with his first top-four result.

Guldemond was the top American finisher and the second American finisher in the first two Olympic selection events, but he was not among the top four overall when including non-American finishers in those events.

Three men’s riders and two women will earn automatic spots on the Olympic Team, but as many as four men and four women could be named when adding in discretionary selections.

The fourth of five selection events was to take place later Thursday in Mammoth Mountain. The fifth and final event is Saturday.

Here are the updated Olympic selection standings, counting only snowboarders with top-four results:

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle – Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Chas Guldemond — 1,800
2. Ryan Stassel — 1,600
3. Sage Kotsenburg — 1,600
4. Shaun White — 1,320
5. Eric Beauchemin — 900

Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle — Two automatic Olympic spots
1. Jamie Anderson — 2,000 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Ty Walker — 1,600
3. Karly Shorr — 1,300
4. Jordie Karlinski — 1,100

Preview of marathon snowboard/freeskiing weekend

Kelly Slater, Bethany Hamilton on new movies, Olympic surfing hopes

Kelly Slater, Bethany Hamilton
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NEW YORK — On consecutive days, the most well-known surfers in the U.S. appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival to promote documentaries of a sport that makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Whether either Kelly Slater or Bethany Hamilton plans to compete at the Games is in question.

“I’m 50-50,” the 46-year-old Slater said Saturday at the premiere of “Momentum Generation,” a film about a band of teen surfers whose bonds brought the sport to new heights in the 1990s. “If I make the team, I’ll compete.”

That’s the hard part. The Olympic qualifying procedures, published last month, limit the U.S. to no more than three surfers per gender in the Olympic fields of 20 men and 20 women.

The top two Americans per gender from the 2019 World Surf League standings would be guaranteed spots. If the world’s dominant surf nations take up the top 34 spots in either 2019 standings, the third-ranked U.S. surfer could get in if the U.S. wins the 2020 World Surfing Games.

Slater was hopeful for more athletes from the world’s top surfing nations. Australia, Brazil, and the U.S. dominate the World Surf League standings.

“They’re going to have to change that a little bit, I think,” Slater said of the quota maximum (It’s too late to change this for 2020, and surfing is not guaranteed in the Olympics for 2024 and beyond.). “It’s hard to look past Brazil, Australia and America for talent in surfing.”

Slater, an 11-time world champion, dropped to the third-ranked American in 2016 and missed four of 11 events last season after breaking his foot. His best finish in the other seven events was a fifth. He hopes to return to competition in July, about a year since suffering the injury that required two surgeries.

The U.S. boasts the two-time reigning world champion — 25-year-old John John Florence of Hawaii — but no other men from last season’s top six or this season’s (early) top seven.

Slater said he hopes that Olympic surfing organizers would adopt his company’s wave-pool technology for the Games rather than holding it on the Pacific Coast. It was previously announced by the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 that the Olympic competition will be held at Tsurigasaki Beach rather than a wave pool.

“It’s almost a test sport for the first year when you get into the Olympics,” Slater said. “I think it will obviously broaden the audience that watches us. There’s a lot of potential things that can happen with that.”

Slater was one of several surfing icons featured in “Momentum Generation,” along with Rob MachadoShane Dorian and others.

“[It’s about] the convergence of all our friendships coming together,” said Slater, before he watched the film for the first time at the premiere. “Everyone’s got these kinds of stories in their lives that are interesting. Somebody found ours interesting enough to cover it, dig in and spend a lot of time on it.”

The night before, Hamilton walked the red carpet for her biopic, “Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable.” The Hawaiian’s left arm was bitten off in a 2003 shark attack when she was a promising 13-year-old surfer. She came back and continued winning contests.

“We started making a smaller, action sports compilation of my surfing,” five years ago, Hamilton said. “It grew into a more story/documentary.”

Hamilton, now 28 and a mother of two, last competed in the top-level World Surf League last May before she became pregnant with her second child, son Wesley, who was born six weeks ago.

She, too, was undecided about ramping up her schedule next year for an Olympic bid.

“I don’t know if I could qualify, but I’m not really competing enough to be the top-two pick of the USA team,” she said, adding that the type of wave at the Olympics plays a role in her interest.

Hamilton, between those two pregnancies, competed four times total on tour in the last four seasons with a best finish of third. Last season, four U.S. women were in the top eight of the World Surf League standings. Hamilton was tied for 20th with one start in 11 events.

Hamilton said she hopes to compete at least twice later this year, including at a Slater wave-pool event.

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MORE: World’s top surfer: World title bigger than Olympics

NBC Sports to be home of U.S. Figure Skating, ISU events through 2026

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NBC Sports will air 80-plus hours of figure skating events yearly through 2026 in an agreement with U.S. Figure Skating announced Monday.

More here from NBC Sports PR.

NBC Sports has exclusive media rights to premier domestic and international figure skating events for the next eight years, including the U.S. Championships, world championships and the Grand Prix series.

The breakdown: At least 30 hours on NBC per year and at least 50 hours on NBCSN per year. Additional programming will air on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

The U.S. Championships’ weekend free skates and free dance will continue to air live on NBC, including three hours in primetime.

As part of the agreement, NBCSN will also air four hours of world championships in short track and long-track speed skating.

MORE: U.S. champion, Skate America winner retires

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