Jamie Anderson wins slopestyle gold; U.S. sweeps golds

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The United States managed a sweep of the first-ever snowboard slopestyle event as Jamie Anderson took the women’s gold a day after Sage Kotsenburg did it for the men. Kotsenburg was quick to praise is peer for the gold:

Anderson, 23, won it with a score of 95.25. Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi looked primed to get a gold before Anderson’s winning run, but put together an impressive silver performance with a 92.50 score. Meanwhile, the BBC’s Ollie Williams has an interesting stat on bronze winner Jenny Jones, who finished with an 87.25 mark.

Even outside of the medals, the event had a dramatic moment. Sarka Pancochova fell so hard during her second run that her helmet was clearly cracked. She insisted upon going down the slope to finish and her first run score of 86.25.

WOMEN’S SNOWBOARD SLOPESTYLE – FINAL
1. Jamie Anderson (USA), 95.25
2. Enni Rukajarvi (FIN), 92.50
3. Jenny Jones (GBR), 87.25
4. Sina Candrian (SUI), 87.00
5. Sarka Pancochova (CZE), 86.25
6. Karly Shorr (USA), 75.00
7. Torah Bright (AUS), 66.25
8. Isabel Derungs (SUI), 58.50
9. Elena Koenz (SUI), 54.50
10. Anna Gasser (AUT), 51.75
11. Silje Norendal (NOR), 49.50
12. Spencer O’Brien (CAN), 35.00

Minnesota Vikings’ curling TD celebration in NFC title game (video)

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Curling was the highlight of the NFC Championship Game for the Minnesota Vikings.

Kyle Rudolph caught a 25-yard touchdown on their opening drive against the Philadelphia Eagles, then launched into a four-man celebration warming up for the Winter Olympics.

Rudolph rolled the football in the end zone like a curling stone, while Latavius Murray and Stefon Diggs mimicked sweepers (just without the brooms). Adam Thielen rounded out the four-man rink.

The Vikings had no other scores to celebrate. They lost 38-7, upsetting the seven out of 10 curlers on the Olympic team who hail from Minnesota.

Earlier in the last two seasons, football players celebrated touchdowns with the hurdles, the long jumpbobsled, a relay and a race walk.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Winter Olympics

Gus Kenworthy qualifies for Olympic ski slopestyle team

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Two nights after taking a massive slam in the halfpipe, Gus Kenworthy bounced back to earn a spot on his second U.S. Olympic slopestyle team.

Kenworthy placed second at the final Olympic qualifier for freeski slopestyle, which was held Sunday at Mammoth Mountain. That result, combined with a victory at a selection event last weekend, qualified him for the Olympic team.

It wasn’t the smoothest week for Kenworthy, who had been trying to make the U.S. team in both halfpipe and slopestyle.

During Friday night’s final qualifier for the ski halfpipe team, Kenworthy struggled to land a run and then had a hard crash on his final attempt.

On Saturday, he placed 58th out of 63 skiers in the preliminary round of a slopestyle selection event.

It was a different story on Sunday though.

By making the slopestyle team, Kenworthy will have another shot at an Olympic medal. He won a silver medal at the last Winter Olympics in Sochi, where slopestyle made its debut, and was part of a podium sweep alongside Joss Christensen and Nick Goepper.

Earlier in the day, Goepper became the first skier to make the men’s slopestyle Olympic team. Because of weather delays throughout the week, Mammoth ended up hosting a pair of Olympic qualifiers on Sunday.

Goepper and Kenworthy were the only skiers to earn automatic nominations onto the men’s slopestyle Olympic team during the qualifying period. Two more skiers can still be added to the team as discretionary selections.

McRae Williams, the 2017 X Games silver medalist, has a strong case for one of those two spots. He finished sixth and fifth at Sunday’s two slopestyle qualifiers.

The other spot on the team looks a little more uncertain. Among the riders likely in consideration is Alex Hall, who was fourth at the final qualifier and is the next ranked skier in terms of qualifying points. It’s also possible that reigning Olympic gold medalist Joss Christensen, who just returned to competition last week after rehabbing from a torn ACL, could be in the discussion.

While Kenworthy is now assured a spot on the slopestyle team, he’s likely on the outside looking in for halfpipe. The three automatic spots have already been allocated to David Wise, Alex Ferreira and Torin Yater-Wallace, and the discretionary spot appears likely to go to Aaron Blunck.

Discretionary picks for both slopestyle and halfpipe are expected to be announced in the next few days.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings

Men’s Freeski Slopestyle
After 5 of 5 Events:

1. Gus Kenworthy, 180** (QUALIFIED)
2. Nick Goepper, 160** (QUALIFIED)
3. McRae Williams, 95
4. Alex Hall, 95
5. Quinn Wolferman, 79
6. Bobby Brown, 68
7. Noah Wallace, 60
8. Joss Christensen, 60

**Has met qualifying minimum of two top-three finishes.