Chloe Kim wins, Shaun White third to open Olympic qualifying (video)

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Chloe Kim and Shaun White took strong steps toward making the U.S. Olympic halfpipe team on Saturday.

Kim won the first Pyeongchang qualifier at Copper Mountain, Colo., while White finished third (and second among Americans).

They’ve met the qualifying minimum for automatic Olympic selection — a top-three finish in one of the four selection events — but haven’t clinched spots yet.

Kim landed a 1080 en route to her 93.75-point winner on her first of three runs, leading a U.S. podium sweep with fellow 17-year-old Maddie Mastro (90.75) and 2002 Olympic champion Kelly Clark (83.75).

“I almost cried,” Kim said after collapsing to the ground in the finish corral. “I’m OK. My mascara’s still on.”

Kim, who won seven straight contests from January 2016 to January 2017, has reclaimed her dominance after a stretch last season when she lost three straight events (and had a trip to the ER in South Korea among them).

Kim’s accolades include youngest Winter X Games halfpipe champion (age 14 in 2015), the only woman to score a perfect 100 and the only woman to land back-to-back 1080s.

She would have made the 2014 Olympic team but didn’t meet the age minimum.

Olympic silver medalist Ayumu Hirano won the men’s event with 95.25 points on Saturday. He launched a frontside 1440 indy into a cab double cork 1080 mute to frontside 1260 indy, according to the International Ski Federation (FIS).

The Japanese rider attempted to become the first man to land back-to-back 1440s in his last run, according to commentators, but washed out.

Ben Ferguson was second with 89.75, followed by White with 89.25.

White, bidding to make his fourth Olympic team after two significant preseason crashes, landed a 1260 and a 1440 in his third and final run but did not improve his standing.

“I really thought that I was going to bump up my score in my third run with the [1440], double [1080] and a double [1260], so I’m a little bit disappointed,” White said, according to FIS.

Ferguson, 22 and the 2016 X Games silver medalist, is in very strong position to make his first Olympic team.

Copper Results: Men | Women

No more than three men and three women can clinch Olympic berths via one top-three finish among the four qualifiers, so tiebreakers could come into play. The tiebreaker is best two finishes, so a pair of wins seals the deal and a first and a second would likely be enough, too.

The U.S. Olympic halfpipe teams can include up to four men and four women, depending on how U.S. Ski & Snowboard decides to allocate its snowboarding quota spots across all disciplines. The last male and female spot would be via discretionary selection by a committee.

The U.S. Grand Prix Olympic qualifier at Copper Mountain concludes with snowboard big air finals Sunday.

The next snowboard halfpipe qualifier is next week at Breckenridge, Colo.

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MORE: Shaun White details crash that led to 62 stitches

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings
Snowboard Halfpipe
1. Ben Ferguson — 1000*
2. Shaun White — 800*
3. Danny Davis — 600
4. Gabe Ferguson — 500
5. Chase Josey — 450

1. Chloe Kim — 1000*
2. Maddie Mastro — 800*
3. Kelly Clark — 600*
4. Arielle Gold — 500
5. Elena Hight — 450

*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result.

U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Finals
Saturday

Snowboard Halfpipe
4 p.m. ET — NBC, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app

Ski Halfpipe
1 p.m. ET — NBC, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app (from Friday)

Sunday
Snowboard Big Air
1 p.m. ET — NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app — LIVE
8 p.m. ET — NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app

Julia Mancuso skis final race dressed as Wonder Woman (video)

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Julia Mancuso bid farewell like only she could — with a tiara, cape and Wonder Woman suit.

The most decorated female U.S. Olympic skier with four medals announced Friday morning that today’s World Cup downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo would be the last race of her career.

More on Mancuso’s retirement, career and immediate future here.

She raced Friday as her nickname — “Super Jules” — and coasted to the bottom 18 seconds slower than winner Sofia Goggia.

Afterward, U.S. Ski Team members sprayed her with champagne and lifted her up in the finish corral.

Mancuso chose an appropriate venue for her last race.

She notched her first World Cup podium in Cortina in January 2006, then won the Olympic giant slalom in Sestriere, Italy, four weeks later.

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MORE: Mikaela Shiffrin’s dominance rarely seen in sports, let alone skiing

Jordyn Wieber says she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar

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Jordyn Wieber said she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, becoming the fourth member of the Fierce Five 2012 Olympic team to come forward Friday.

McKayla MaroneyAly Raisman and Gabby Douglas previously said they were sexually abused by Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor for nearly two decades.

Two more Olympians — Jamie Dantzscher (2000) and Simone Biles (2016) — also said they were sexually abused by Nassar.

Wieber spoke for six minutes to start the fourth day of a Nassar sentencing hearing at a Michigan court on Friday.

Michigan state Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said Wieber reached out this week to say she wanted to speak at the hearing where more than 100 women are expected to deliver victim impact statements.

Here’s what Wieber said in front of Nassar on Friday:

I thought that training for the Olympics would be the hardest thing that I would ever had to do, but in fact the hardest thing that is process that I’m a victim of Larry Nassar. It has caused me to feel shame and confusion, and I have spent months trying to think back on my experience and wonder how I didn’t even know this was happening to me and how I became so brainwashed by Larry and everyone at USA Gymnastics, both whom I thought were supposed to be on my side.

I started seeing Larry Nassar at the age of 8 in my hometown of Lansing. He was known as the best gymnastics doctor in the world. Everyone in my club, on the U.S. national team and across the country saw Larry, and everyone said the same thing. He was a miracle worker, and he could fix just about anything. I was treated by Larry for any and all of my injuries from ages 8 ’til I was 18, and it wasn’t long before he had gained my trust. He became a safe person of sorts, and to my teenage self he appeared to be the good guy in an environment that was intense and restricting.

He would try to advise me on how to deal with the stresses of training or my coaches. He would bring us food and coffee at the Olympics when we were too afraid to eat too much in front of our coaches. I didn’t know that these were all grooming techniques that he used to manipulate me and brainwash me to trusting him.

When I was 14 years old, I tore my hamstring in my right leg. This is when he started performing the procedure that we are all now familiar with. I would cringe at how uncomfortable it felt. He did it time after time, appointment after appointment, convincing me that it was helping my hamstring injury. And the worst part was that I had no idea he was sexually abusing me for his own benefit. I knew it felt strange, but he was the national team doctor. Who was I to question his treatments, or even more, risk my chance at making the Olympic team or being chosen to compete internationally. And after all, he was recommended by the national team staff, and he treated us monthly at all of our national team camps. I even talked to my teammates, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, about this treatment, and how uncomfortable it made us feel. None of us really understood it. After I made the Olympic team, I suffered a stress fracture in my right shin. It was extremely painful to tumble and land using my legs, but I fought through the pain because it was the Olympics, and I knew it would be probably my only shot.

Our bodies were all hanging by a thread when we were in London. Who was the doctor that USAG sent to keep us healthy and help us get through? The doctor that was our abuser. The doctor that is a child molester. Because of my shin, I couldn’t train without being in extreme pain, and it affected the number of routines I could do to prepare before the competition. And, ultimately, it made me feel less prepared than I should have been. I didn’t qualify to the all-around competition, and I went through a dark time right before we won the team gold. 

Now, I question everything about that injury and the medical treatment I received. Was Larry even doing anything to help my pain? Was I getting the proper medical care, or was he only focused on which one of us he was going to prey on next? What does he think about when he massaged my sore muscles every day? Now I question everything.

To this day, I still don’t know how he could have been allowed to do this for so long. My teammates and I were subjected to his medical care every single month at the national-team training center in Texas. He was the only male allowed to be present in the athlete dorm rooms to do whatever treatments he wanted. He was allowed to treat us in hotel rooms alone without any supervision. He took photos of us during training and whenever else he wanted. Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of. Nobody was even concerned whether or not we were being sexually abused. I was not protected, and neither were my teammates. 

My parents trusted USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar to take care of me, and we were betrayed by both. And now the lack of accountability from USAG, USOC and Michigan State have caused me and many other girls to remain shameful, confused and disappointed. 

I am angry with myself for not recognizing the abuse, and that’s something I’m struggling with today. But even thought I am a victim, I do not and will not live my life as one. I am an Olympian. Despite being abused, I worked so hard and managed to achieve my goal. But I want everyone, especially the media, to know that despite my athletic achievements, I am one of over 140 women and survivors whose story is important. Our pain is all the same, and our stories are all important. And now the people who are responsible need to accept responsibility for the pain they have caused me and the rest of the women who have been abused. Larry Nassar is accountable. USA Gymnastics is accountable. The U.S. Olympic Committee is accountable. My teammates and friends have been through enough, and now it’s time for change because the current and future gymnasts do not deserve to live in anxiety, fear or be unprotected like I was.