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Another snowboarder makes Olympic team as qualifying winds down

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Faye Gulini is going to her third Olympics on the U.S. snowboard cross team, but will Olympic medalists Seth Wescott and Alex Deibold join her?

Gulini, 25, clinched her PyeongChang spot Friday after the fourth of five selection events this season.

Her runner-up finish at the third event last Saturday proved enough for her to automatically join 2006 Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis as the first two snowboard cross racers to make the team.

Up to two more women could be added to the team next month.

Gulini goes into PyeongChang with arguably her best chance yet to win a medal. She was 12th in Vancouver as a high school senior and fourth in Sochi.

She made her first top-level senior international podium last Saturday and ranks fifth in the world. Gulini became the first U.S. woman other than Jacobellis to stand on a World Cup podium since March 2012.

The Salt Lake City native served as an extra at the 2002 Olympic Opening Ceremony as a “Child of Light,” wearing a big, furry jacket and carrying a little lantern.

The U.S. men’s snowboard cross qualifying picture is less sorted.

One man — part-time plumber Jonathan Cheever, going for his first Olympics at age 32, — has the minimum automatic qualifying criteria of one podium finish through four of the five qualifiers.

Cheever is now guaranteed to make the Olympic team unless three other U.S. men sweep the podium at the last qualifier in Turkey on Jan. 20.

The men chasing a podium Jan. 20 include some of the most accomplishment riders in U.S. history.

Seth Wescott, who won the first two Olympic men’s snowboard cross titles in 2006 and 2010 and just missed the 2014 Olympics, has a best finish of 37th in three World Cups this season. The 41-year-old looks like a long shot.

Alex Deibold, the Sochi Olympic bronze medalist, just missed the podium on Friday, finishing last of four riders in the final in Italy.

Nate Holland, a three-time Olympian and seven-time X Games champ, has a best finish this season of 10th.

Two-time Olympian Nick BaumgartnerHagen KearneyMick Dierdorff and Deibold all have better results than Holland this season, putting pressure on the veteran to deliver Jan. 20.

Once the qualifying events are over, a committee will round out the Olympic roster of up to four men.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Olympic team

Lindsey Jacobellis essentially wraps up Olympic berth; Sochi champ hurt

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Lindsey Jacobellis all but clinched her fourth Olympic berth with a record-extending 28th career World Cup snowboard cross win in France on Wednesday.

Jacobellis, a 2006 Olympic silver medalist, five-time world champion and 10-time X Games champion, now has second- and first-place finishes from the first two of five U.S. Olympic qualifying events.

She will officially clinch a place on the Pyeongchang team after the next World Cup in Austria ends Saturday, so long as two other U.S. women don’t finish one-two in that event.

Pencil her in. Only twice in the last 10 years has another U.S. woman made a World Cup podium.

Jacobellis has won either a World Cup, a world title or the X Games in 15 of the last 16 seasons (the outlier was when she missed the 2012-13 season due to a torn ACL and meniscus).

Jacobellis now has eight more World Cup snowboard cross wins than the next rider on the all-time list — France’s Pierre Vaultier. She also has a World Cup halfpipe victory from 2004.

Of course, she is missing Olympic gold.

The 32-year-old infamously lost gold on a celebratory board grab on the penultimate jump at the 2006 Torino Winter Games, settling for silver. She then washed out in the semifinals in both 2010 and 2014.

Pyeongchang will bring another round of expectations, and one more opportunity to claim that elusive gold. It may be her last chance, but Jacobellis refused to put a timeline on the rest of her career after winning her fifth world title on March 12.

“Still just taking one week at a time, one month at a time, just living the dream,” she said then. “I don’t like to look too far in the future because you’re missing what’s going on right now. I’ve made that mistake before in the past, where you’re too worried about what’s coming, and you’re not seeing what’s right in front of you.”

Also Wednesday, two-time U.S. Olympian Faye Gulini finished fourth, her best World Cup result ever, matching her Sochi Olympic finish. Gulini is a strong bet to join Jacobellis on the Olympic team.

Meanwhile, Sochi gold medalist and 2017 World Cup champion Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic injured her shoulder in training in France and did not start.

The injury is not believed to be serious enough to impact her Olympic preparations, according to the Czech snowboard federation.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Lindsey Jacobellis
20th — 2001 X Games
21st — 2002 X Games
Gold — 2003 X Games
Gold — 2004 X Games
Gold — 2005 Worlds
Gold — 2005 X Games
*** Skipped 2006 X Games
Silver — 2006 Olympics
Silver — 2007 X Games
Gold — 2007 Worlds
Gold — 2008 X Games
Gold — 2009 X Games
*** Skipped 2009 Worlds
Gold — 2010 X Games
Fifth — 2010 Olympics
Gold — 2011 Worlds
Gold — 2011 X Games
*** Tore ACL/meniscus in 2012 X Games training run
Gold — 2014 X Games
Seventh — 2014 Olympics
Gold — 2015 Worlds
Gold — 2015 X Games
Gold — 2016 X Games
Gold — 2017 Worlds

U.S. Olympic Snowboard Cross Team named

Faye Gulini
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Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis and 2006 and 2010 Olympian Nate Holland will lead the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Cross Team in Sochi.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announced the seven-rider roster Saturday.

Jacobellis and Holland were among five riders who had already earned their spots or been previously announced as team members. The others were first-time Olympians Alex Deibold and Trevor Jacob and 2010 Olympian Nick Baumgartner.

Baumgartner earned his spot over two-time Olympic champion Seth Wescott on Friday.

Jacobellis and Holland won Winter X Games titles Friday; Jacobellis’ gold was record-breaking.

The two new announcements were Jackie Hernandez and 2010 Olympian Faye Gulini.

Hernandez, 21, ranks 10th in the World Cup standings this season. Gulini, also 21, was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Olympics.

Jacobellis is the U.S.’ best hope at gold in snowboard cross, which made its Olympic debut in 2006. It was in Torino that Jacobellis crashed on a method grab while leading on the next to last jump and took silver.

In 2010, Jacobellis was disqualified in the semifinals after hitting a gate and finished fifth. She ranks second in the World Cup standings behind Canadian Dominique Maltais, the 2006 Olympic bronze medalist.

The final members of the U.S. Olympic Team — up to 20 Alpine skiers — will be announced Sunday.

Video: Jason Brown on Arsenio Hall show