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