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

Italian curler roars after hitting shot to qualify for Olympics (video)

Italy curling
World Curling
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Forgive Amos Mosaner for shouting, for he clinched Italy’s first Olympic curling qualification.

Mosaner’s double takeout in an extra end put Italy past Denmark 6-5 in the last-chance Olympic qualification tournament in Pilsen, Czech Republic, on Sunday.

He rushed down the ice after that last stone, tossed his broom aside, pumped his fist and roared into a group hug with teammates.

Skip Joël Retornaz returns to the Olympics after a 12-year absence. He skipped Italy’s team at the 2006 Olympics, where they earned an automatic berth as host nation.

“This has such a different taste,” the 34-year-old Retornaz said, according to World Curling. “Earning the right on the ice feels great. It feels like a dream for me.”

Denmark later did make the Olympic field as the last nation, beating the Czechs for the spot.

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MORE: List of Russia Olympic medals stripped; new Sochi medal standings

The Pyeongchang Olympic curling fields:

Men
Canada
Sweden
U.S.
Japan
Switzerland
Great Britain
Norway
Italy
Denmark
South Korea

Women
Canada
Russia
Switzerland
Great Britain
U.S.
Sweden
Japan
China
Denmark
South Korea

Mixed Doubles
China
Canada
Russia
U.S.
Switzerland
Norway
Finland
South Korea

Russia says its athletes want to compete at Pyeongchang Olympics

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian athletes are overwhelmingly in favor of competing at the Pyeongchang Winter Games despite a ban on the national team, the country’s Olympic committee said Monday.

Sofia Velikaya said the Russian Olympic Committee’s athletes’ commission, which she chairs, has heard from “all the athletes in all sports” on the Olympic program, with a majority in favor of competing.

Velikaya said no athletes have told the ROC they would rather boycott.

“At the current moment, everyone’s training and everyone’s hoping to take part in the Olympics,” Velikaya said.

The International Olympic Committee last week barred the Russian team from Pyeongchang because of doping offenses at the Sochi Olympics, but is allowing Russians to compete under a neutral flag as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the government won’t stand in their way.

ROC spokesman Konstantin Vybornov said teams from biathlon and snowboard had recorded videos affirming their desire to compete, while the men’s hockey team has written “a collective letter.”

Some Russian hardliners believe it is shameful for athletes to compete at the Olympics without their national flag. But Velikaya defended the athletes, saying everyone watching will know who is from Russia.

“The choice of competing at the Olympics is strictly individual,” Velikaya said. “I call on Russian society to treat athletes’ decisions with understanding and respect.”

With the IOC due to send out invitations to individual Russians over the next two months, Velikaya said Russian sports officials would put together lists of their preferred teams.

Those rosters, she said, would stop the IOC from inviting “numbers five and six” in the Russian team while leaving out genuine medal contenders.

Russia is pushing back against some IOC conditions, however, backing appeals by Russian athletes banned for doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Velikaya also said her commission will ask the IOC to remove a condition stopping athletes from being invited to Pyeongchang if they have been suspended for doping in the past.

That affects a few athletes with earlier offenses unconnected to the Sochi Olympics, including biathletes banned for using the blood-booster EPO and speed skating world champion Denis Yuskov, who was suspended in 2008 after testing positive for marijuana.

Forcing the Russians to compete as neutral athletes puts the IOC in the uncomfortable position of regulating how they celebrate.

The Russian flag won’t be flown at medal ceremonies, but what happens if a Russian winner accepts a flag or a gift from a spectator for a victory lap? Can Russian athletes fly the flag from their windows in the athletes village?

Those are on a list of questions Vybornov said Russia will ask of the IOC.

“A figure skater wins, let’s say, and they throw her a teddy bear in Russian uniform onto the ice,” Vybornov said. “She picks it up. Can she do that? Or is that an offense?”

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