Shaun White

Shaun White clinches Olympic halfpipe spot

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Shaun White is officially qualified for two events at the Sochi Olympics.

White wrapped up his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in halfpipe by winning the final selection event in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., on Sunday. The two-time Olympic champion won with a first-run score of 96.6 points and erred in his second run.

White joins the already qualified Taylor Gold as well as Greg Bretz, who was off the podium Sunday but made it via strong results in the first two selection events in December.

(Update: Danny Davis earned the fourth and final Olympic berth as a discretionary selection announced a half-hour after competition ended.)

White, 27, capped a tumultuous month of Olympic qualifying. He crashed in the first Olympic selection event in halfpipe, injuring an ankle, and was not able to qualify for the Olympic Team in either slopestyle or halfpipe until this final weekend. Weather postponements did not help.

“It was a long [week], but I made the team,” White said on NBC. “I’m pretty happy. It’s everything I could have hoped for.

“I’m one of the only guys doing both [halfpipe and slopestyle]. Juggling the two has been out of hand. It’s really demanding to switch gears and do both, but I’m doing it. I’m making my way.”

White is favored to win Olympic gold in halfpipe and could become the first American man to win the same Winter Olympic event three times.

He might not compete again before the Olympic slopestyle competition that begins Feb. 6, one day before the Opening Ceremony. White has said he is likely to skip this week’s Winter X Games, which would be his first absence from the event this millennium.

It sounds like White could use the rest. His band, Bad Things, releases its debut album Tuesday.

“I’m pretty worked still,” White said. “I would be lying to say I’m all good. I knew I had one really good run in me. That’s kind of my Achilles. I get lazy on the second run if I post a really good score [in the first run].”

His top Olympic threats may not be Americans — Swiss Iouri Podladtchikov and Japanese Ayumu Hirano could also win. White performed a trick in a victory Friday that was first done in competition by Podladtchikov last year — a double cork 1440.

“To put my run down with the new trick I’ve got going, it’s really pulling its weight,” White said. “They’re definitely up to my expectation. I’ve been waiting to pull these new tricks out.”

Gold qualified for the Olympic Team before White on Friday. He is the older brother of Arielle Gold, who qualified for the women’s team earlier Sunday.

Bretz beat White in the first Olympic selection event in December. He finished 12th at the 2010 Olympics.

Davis would have made the 2010 Olympic Team if not for a drunken ATV ride that left him with a broken back four years ago.

Two 2010 Olympians — bronze medalist Scotty Lago and Louie Vito — did not make the 2014 Olympic Team.

Skier with Lyme disease makes Olympic Team

Seb Coe splits from Nike as IAAF president

Sebastian Coe
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International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe announced in a press conference Thursday that he dropped his sponsorship deal with Nike, according to reports.

He was sponsored by the brand going back to his days as a professional athlete – he won the 1,500m in 1980 and 1984. His role at Nike included acting as an international advisor and campaign ambassador for “Designed to Move,” aimed at tackling lethargy, Sports Illustrated said.

Coe was voted into office as IAAF president in August for a four-year term, but had since been under scrutiny by British media over the potential conflict of interest. Previously, he acted as the head of the London 2012 Olympic Organizing Committee.

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Hamburg voters to decide on 2024 Olympic bid

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HAMBURG, Germany (AP) – Hamburg’s bid for the 2024 Olympics faces a public referendum Sunday among voters in the north German port city.

Organizers hope the bid that has already been submitted to the International Olympic Committee won’t share the same fate as Munich’s proposed candidacy for the 2022 Winter Games. That bid was rejected in a referendum.

German Olympic Sports Confederation president Alfons Hoermann says “we’re giving the baton to the people of Hamburg and Kiel,” referring to the nearby city where sailing events would be held.

More than 40 percent of the 1.3 million people eligible to vote have already done so through a postal ballot.

Hoermann says “the excellent turnout that has emerged shows the Olympic Games project has been taken on by the city.”

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