Shaun White

Shaun White crashes; Jamie Anderson earns Olympic berth

Leave a comment

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

Olympic champion, Tour de France runner-up tests positive

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Samuel Sanchez, a 2008 Olympic champion and 2010 Tour de France runner-up, was provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned growth hormone on Aug. 9.

Sanchez, a 39-year-old Spaniard, was due to race the Vuelta a España starting Saturday but is now out indefinitely until the conclusion of his case. That may include the testing of his B sample.

Sanchez denied wrongdoing, saying the failed test was a surprise, according to Spanish news agency EFE.

Sanchez won the road race on the first day of the Beijing Games in a five-man sprint that also included Swiss Fabian Cancellara, who would win the time trial in 2008 and 2016, and Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck.

Two years later, Sanchez finished fourth in the Tour de France but was upgraded to second behind Schleck due to doping bans for original winner Alberto Contador and third-place Denis Menchov.

Sanchez also took the polka-dot jersey for best climber at the 2011 Tour and finished second and third at the Vuelta in 2009 and 2007, respectively.

Sanchez rode in the 2010 Tour wearing a special helmet honoring his Olympic title. He also got a tattoo behind his right shoulder commemorating the Beijing gold on Aug. 9, 2008.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Alberto Contador sets last Grand Tour before retirement

Victoria Azarenka may miss U.S. Open due to custody battle

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Olympic and Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka says her participation in the U.S. Open is in doubt because she might not be able to bring her son with her to New York as a result of her separation from the baby’s father.

Azarenka is “faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away,” according to a post on the former top-ranked player’s social media accounts Thursday. “No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.”

The 28-year-old from Belarus gave birth to Leo, her first child, in December, then returned to the tour in June.

Azarenka’s post said that shortly after Wimbledon — where Azarenka lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10 — she separated from her son’s father.

“As we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the U.S. Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media, “which I’m not willing to do.”

The U.S. Open starts Aug. 28.

“I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction to more effectively work as a team and agree on an arrangement for all three of us to travel and for me to compete,” was posted, “but, more importantly, to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents.”

Azarenka was the runner-up in New York in 2012 and 2013, losing in the final each year to Serena Williams.

Those were also the years that Azarenka won her two Grand Slam singles titles in Australia.

Wimbledon was Azarenka’s first major tournament in more than a year. She currently is ranked 204th.

“Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace. I want to support men and women everywhere who know it is OK to be a working mother — or father. No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media. “I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received from women and men around the world who recognize the importance of supporting working moms and our right to be with our children. I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Past two men’s champions out of U.S. Open