Copper Mountain

Shaun White

Shaun White falls, takes third in Copper Mountain slopestyle

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Shaun White fell on a snowboarding run for the second straight week, but he moved closer to qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team in slopestyle on Sunday.

White, the two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion, took third place behind Norwegian winner Staale Sandbech in Copper Mountain, Colo. Sandbech scored 97.00 points in his second of two runs.

White scored 90.75 in his first run (video here). He fell after performing an opening rail trick in his second run and glided down the rest of the course. He did not appear to injure himself.

“This is top-30 finish, top American finish, so I’m very happy,” White said, according to The Associated Press.

Last week, White suffered an ankle injury in halfpipe at the first of five Olympic selection events in Breckenridge, Colo. He skipped last week’s slopestyle final and this week’s halfpipe.

He was the top qualifier into last week’s slopestyle final before pulling out and the eighth qualifier this week. Olympic favorite Mark McMorris of Canada, last week’s winner, was not in the field this week.

White would make the U.S. Olympic Team in slopestyle if it was named today, thanks in part to underwhelming results from other American riders.

Up to three U.S. men and two women who have had a top-four result in Olympic selection events will be named to the Olympic team.

So far, White is the only U.S. men’s slopestyle snowboarder with a top-four result through two of five Olympic selection events.

If more than three men and two women have had a top-four result, then a tiebreaker ranking system comes into play.

The tiebreaker rankings are based on an athlete’s two best finishes in Olympic selection events, with standings only counting American finishers.

Also Sunday, Czech Sarka Pancochova won the women’s event with a second-run 92.25.

Ty Walker, 16, was the top American in fourth to jump into the Olympic selection tiebreaker rankings.

Jamie Anderson, who won in Breckenridge last week, was the second highest American on Sunday, in seventh, to maintain her lead in the tiebreaker rankings.

The next Olympic selection event is in Breckenridge in January.

“Now, I get two weeks of practice,” White said, according to the AP.

Here are the slopestyle Olympic selection tiebreaker rankings, counting only those with top-four results:

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle
1. Shaun White — 1,320

Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
1. Jamie Anderson — 1,800
2. Ty Walker — 1,500

Olympic champion snowboarder makes fourth Olympic team

Kelly Clark books Olympic spot in dominating style

Kelly Clark
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Kelly Clark clinched her fourth Olympic berth, capturing the second U.S. Olympic selection event in Copper Mountain, Colo., on Saturday.

Clark, the 2002 Olympic champion and 2010 bronze medalist, won with the two highest scores, a 98.00 and a 95.50.

Taylor Gold, 20, took the men’s event with 90.25 points to jump into the race to make the Olympic team.

He squeaked into the final as the 16th of 16 qualifiers. His winning run was the first down the halfpipe of 31 total men’s runs Saturday night.

Gold’s younger sister, world champion Arielle Gold, took second to Clark with 91.25 and stayed second to Clark in the race to make the U.S. Olympic Team.

Gretchen Bleiler, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, was third to make it a U.S. women’s podium sweep.

A maximum of four American women could make it to Sochi in halfpipe snowboarding, but four or more could reach Olympic selection criteria to force tiebreaker rankings.

Clark, Arielle Gold and Bleiler have met Olympic selection criteria (one top-four result) with three more events for more snowboarders to join them.

2006 Olympic champion Hannah Teter failed to make the eight-woman final for the second straight Olympic selection event.

Five men have top-four results already, forcing tiebreaker rankings.

Two-time reigning Olympic champion Shaun White skipped this week’s halfpipe to focus on slopestyle. White was second in the first Olympic selection event last week.

2010 Olympian Greg Bretz, who beat White last week, was second to Taylor Gold on Saturday with 87.75 to maintain his lead in the tiebreaker rankings. Ben Ferguson, 18, completed a U.S. podium sweep.

A snowboarder’s best two results will be combined to create tiebreaker rankings. The next Olympic selection event is in Breckenridge in January.

Here are the Olympic selection tiebreaker ranking standings after two of five selection events, only counting those with top-four results:

Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe
1. Greg Bretz — 1,800
2. Taylor Gold — 1,600
3. Ben Ferguson — 1,000
4. Louie Vito — 900
5. Shaun White — 800

Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe
1. Kelly Clark — 2,000 — clinched Olympic berth
2. Arielle Gold — 1,600 (or 1,400*)
3. Gretchen Bleiler — 1,100 (or 1,050*)

*Gold has 1,400 points and Bleiler has 1,050 points if Chloe Kim‘s third place from Breckenridge last week is counted. Kim, 13, is too young to make the Olympics.

Lindsey Jacobellis meets Olympic criteria

Nick Goepper set for Sochi Olympics in ski slopestyle

Nick Goepper
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Nick Goepper locked up a spot on the first U.S. Olympic Team in slopestyle skiing at the second Olympic selection event in Copper Mountain, Colo., on Saturday.

“It’s a dream come true,” Goepper said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “It’s super fun. The Olympics add a bit more pressure, but we’re just out here trying to get creative and have fun.”

Goepper, the rare freeskier out of Indiana, took second with 89.20 points in the first of his two runs. It held up until Norway’s Andreas Haartveit posted 92.80 late in the second run. Australian Russ Henshaw took third.

Goepper, the reigning Winter X Games champion, won in Breckenridge last week without ski poles due to a broken hand. He met U.S. Olympic Team selection criteria being the top American finisher in the first two Olympic selection events.

No American man other than Goepper has finished on the podium in either of the first two selection events. Ski slopestyle is making its Olympic debut.

Earlier, Canadian Dara Howell won the women’s ski slopestyle. No U.S. women have reached Olympic selection criteria yet, but four women are halfway there through two of five events.

Darian Stevens and Grete Eliassen were second and third behind Howell. Howell won with an 87.60 second run, bettering Stevens’ 85.40 and Eliassen’s 83.40.

Maggie Voisin, who was third last week on her 15th birthday, was fourth Saturday with 80.00 points. Devin Logan, who won last week, did not reach the finals in Copper Mountain.

Up to three slopestyle skiers per gender who have had two top-three results over five Olympic selection events will be named to the Olympic team. If more than three athletes, in either gender, have had two top-three results, tiebreaker rankings come into play.

A skier’s best two results will be combined to create tiebreaker rankings. The next Olympic selection event for slopestyle skiing is in Breckenridge in January.

Here are the Olympic selection tiebreaker ranking standings in ski slopestyle after two of five selection events, only counting those with top-three results:

Men’s Ski Slopestyle
1. Nick Goepper — 200 (two top-three results)

Women’s Ski Slopestyle
1. Maggie Voisin — 140
2. Devin Logan — 136
2. Darian Stevens — 136
4. Grete Eliassen — 102

Sigourney, Blunck win ski halfpipe at Copper