Today at 5 a.m. ET on NBCOlympics.com, Shaun White begins his quest to become the first American man to win three Winter Olympic gold medals in the same individual event with qualifying in snowboard halfpipe.
White, who pulled out of the inaugural Olympic slopestyle competition to focus on halfpipe, will look to turn back the world’s best – including Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov (a.k.a. “I-Pod”), the 2013 halfpipe world champion, and Japan’s 15-year-old dynamo, Ayumu Hirano.
White’s American teammates – Greg Bretz (who defeated White in the first of five Olympic qualifiers this winter), Taylor Gold and Danny Davis – are also potential medal threats.
Here are some quick details on those main contenders.
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Canadian skier Phil Brown was fortunate to walk away from an airborne crash at the World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria, on Sunday.
Brown failed to finish his first run, losing contact with the snow early on and falling hard onto his side.
He tweeted a video of the crash, with slow-motion replays, with a soundtrack of Irish singer Enya‘s “Only Time.”
The World Cup season continues with men’s and women’s slaloms in Levi, Finland, in three weeks.
MORE: Ted Ligety recovers to finish fifth in first race in 9 months
Usain Bolt, the singer?
Bolt teased what appeared to be a recording-studio session in an Instagram video Monday, a short clip that ended with Wednesday’s date, perhaps a sign of more to come.
The video included shots of a guitarist, drummer, keyboardist and three female singers before showing Bolt in front of a microphone adjusting headphones.
Bolt has experience singing in front of crowds, having performed Queen and Kings of Leon at recent Oktoberfest visits in Munich.
VIDEO: Watch trailer for Bolt’s upcoming biopic