Shaun White

Shaun White set for Breckenridge finals; Olympic selection standings

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Shaun White qualified for both the halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding finals at the third of five Olympic selection events in snowboarding and freeskiing in Breckenridge, Colo., this week.

White can clinch his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in slopestyle if he is the top American finisher in the final Friday (full Olympic selection standings and some clinching scenarios below).

The notable Olympic hopefuls who failed to advance to finals were fellow halfpipe Olympic medalists Hannah TeterGretchen Bleiler and Scotty Lago.

In ski slopestyle, three of the four top U.S. women will not be in the final. That leaves Devin Logan, who is trying to make the Olympic Team in slopestyle and halfpipe, a great opportunity to clinch one Olympic berth.

Here’s the finals schedule (all times Eastern):

Friday — Ski Slopestyle — 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. (NBC, Sunday, 1 p.m.)
Friday — Snowboard Slopestyle — 3-5 p.m. (NBCSN, Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
Saturday — Snowboard Halfpipe — 2-3:30 p.m. (NBC, Sunday, 2 p.m.)
Sunday — Ski Halfpipe — 2-3:15 p.m. (NBCSN, Monday, 9 p.m.)

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association details how the Olympic Team selection process works in this snowboarding document and this freestyle skiing document.

Here’s the text for snowboarding:

Up to three halfpipe athletes per gender who have had a top four result, against the entire competition field, in the selection events will be named to the Olympic team. If more than three athletes, in either gender, have had a top four result then ties will be broken. … Each athlete’s best two results will be combined to create a ranking list for nomination in each gender.

Up to three slopestyle men and two slopestyle women athletes who have had a top four result, against the entire competition field, in the selection events will be named to the Olympic team. If more than three men and two women athletes have had a top four result then ties will be broken. … Each athlete’s best two results will be combined to create a ranking list for nomination in each gender.

Here’s the text for freestyle skiing:

Up to three halfpipe (or slopestyle) athletes per gender who have had two top three results against the entire competition field in the selection events during the selection period will be named to the Olympic team. If more than three athletes, in either gender, have had two top three results then ties will be broken. … Each athlete’s best two results will be combined to create a ranking list for nomination in each gender.

It’s expected most (if not all) disciplines will fall into tiebreaker ranking lists. Here’s where it gets tricky.

A nation can’t send more than 24 snowboarders to the Olympics across all disciplines — halfpipe, slopestyle, snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom — even though it could qualify up to 32 Olympic snowboarding spots (four per gender per event).

As of Jan. 9, the U.S. had qualified 25 snowboarding quota spots — four men and women each in halfpipe and slopestyle, four men in snowboardcross, two women in snowboardcross, two men in parallel and one woman in parallel. If it stays that way, the U.S. will not be able to fill one of those spots.

A nation can’t send more than 26 freestyle skiers to the Olympics across all disciplines — aerials, moguls, skicross, ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle — even though it could qualify up to 40 Olympic freestyle skiing spots (four per gender per event).

As of Jan. 9, the U.S. had qualified 34 freestyle skiing quota spots — four men and women each in aerials, moguls, ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle, two men in skicross and zero women in skicross. If it stays that way, the U.S. will not be able to fill eight of those spots.

The Olympic selection tiebreaker rankings for halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding and skiing are calculated the same as World Cup standings, on a points system that begins with:

First place — 1,000 points (for snowboarding, 100 for freeskiing)
Second — 800 (80 for freeskiing)
Third — 600 (60 for freeskiing)
Fourth — 500 (50 for freeskiing)

The tiebreaker rankings throw out results by international athletes (such as Australian Torah Bright, who won the Dew Tour women’s halfpipe).

That in mind, here are the Olympic selection event tiebreaker rankings for snowboard halfpipe, snowboard slopestyle, ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle (only counting snowboarders with top-four results and skiers with top-three results). Also, some scenarios where athletes could clinch Olympic berths this weekend courtesy of NBC Olympics Research.

Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe
1. Greg Bretz — 1,800
2. Taylor Gold — 1,600
3. Ben Ferguson — 1,000 (did not qualify for Breckenridge final)
4. Louie Vito — 900
5. Shaun White — 800

If Bretz or Gold is the top American, he clinches an Olympic berth.

Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe
1. Kelly Clark — 2,000 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Arielle Gold — 1,400
3. Gretchen Bleiler — 1,000 (did not qualify for Breckenridge final)

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

If White is the top American, he clinches. If Chas Guldemond is the top American and finishes in the top four overall, he clinches.

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

If Anderson is the top American, she clinches. If Walker is the top American and finishes in the top four overall, she clinches.

Men’s Ski Halfpipe
1. Aaron Blunck — 180 (has two top-three results, did not qualify for Breckenridge final)
2. David Wise — 129
3. Gus Kenworthy — 112
4. Lyman Currier — 105

If Wise is the top American and finishes in the top three overall, he clinches.

Women’s Ski Halfpipe
1. Maddie Bowman — 180 (has two top-three results)
2. Brita Sigourney — 160 (has two top-three results)
3. Angeli VanLaanen — 125

If Bowman or Sigourney is the top American, she clinches.

Men’s Ski Slopestyle
1. Nick Goepper — 200 (clinched Olympic berth)

Nobody else can clinch this week.

Women’s Ski Slopestyle
1. Maggie Voisin — 140 (did not compete in Breckenridge)
2. Devin Logan — 136
2. Darian Stevens — 136 (did not qualify for Breckenridge final)
4. Grete Eliassen — 102 (did not qualify for Breckenridge final)

If Logan is the top American and finishes in the top three, she clinches.

Nancy Kerrigan joins NBC Olympics for Sochi

Chloe Dygert crashes over guard rail, fails to finish world championships time trial

Chloe Dygert
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American Chloé Dygert crashed over a guard rail and failed to finish the world road cycling championships time trial, where she appeared en route to a repeat title in Imola, Italy.

Dygert, who last year won by the largest margin in history as the youngest-ever champion, lost control of her bike while approaching a curve to the right. Her front wheel bobbled, and she collided with the barricade, flipping over into an area with grass.

Dygert, her legs appearing bloodied, was tended to by several people, put on a stretcher and taken toward an ambulance.

“All we know is that she is conscious and talking,” according to USA Cycling, about 25 minutes after the crash. “More updates to come.”

About 10 minutes after the crash, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won her first time trial title.

Van der Breggen took silver the last three years behind Dygert and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, who missed this year’s race after breaking her wrist last week in the Giro Rosa.

Dygert, 23, had a 26-second lead at the 14-kilometer time check of the 31-kilometer race. Full results are here.

Dygert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics when she won last year’s world time trial title. She has been bidding to make the Olympics on the road and the track.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s time trial airing on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold for Cycling Pass subscribers at 8:15 a.m. ET. A full TV schedule is here.

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MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

Diamond League slate ends in Doha with record holders; TV, stream info

Mondo Duplantis
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The Diamond League season ends on Friday in the place where it was supposed to start — Doha.

Like many sports, track and field’s calendar was put in disarray by the coronavirus pandemic. The Doha meet, originally scheduled for April 17 to open an Olympic season, was postponed five months while other stops were canceled altogether.

Now, Doha caps an unlikely season that still produced stirring performances. NBCSN coverage starts at 12 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Gold also streams live for subscribers.

The headliner is Swedish pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis, a leading contender for Male Athlete of the Year. Duplantis, who twice bettered the world record in February at indoor meets, last week produced the highest outdoor clearance in history, too, breaking a 26-year-old Sergey Bubka record.

Duplantis can mimic Bubka on Friday by attempting to raise his world record another centimeter — to 6.19 meters, or more than 20 feet, 3 inches.

The deepest track event in Doha is the finale, the women’s 3000m, featuring 3000m steeplechase world-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech, 5000m world champion Hellen Obiri and rising 1500m runner Gudaf Tsegay.

Here are the Doha entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

11:18 a.m. ET — Men’s Pole Vault
11:33 — Men’s 200m
12:03 p.m. — Men’s 400m
12:08 — Women’s Long Jump
12:12 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
12:21 — Men’s 1500m
12:34 — Men’s 110m Hurdles
12:43 — Women’s 800m
12:56 — Women’s 100m
1:07 — Men’s 800m
1:18 — Women’s 3000m

Here are three events to watch (statistics via Tilastopaja.org):

Men’s Pole Vault — 11:18 a.m.
Duplantis looks to complete a perfect 2020 against his two primary rivals — reigning world champion and American Sam Kendricks (who went undefeated in 2017) and 2012 Olympic champion and former world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie of France. Kendricks was the last man to beat Duplantis, at those 2019 World Championships, and is the only man to clear a height within nine inches of Duplantis’ best this outdoor season.

Women’s 100m — 12:56 p.m.
Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah looks poised to finish the year as the world’s fastest woman after clocking 10.85 seconds in Rome last week, her fastest time outside of Jamaica in more than three years. That’s one hundredth faster than countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce‘s best time of 2020. Thompson-Herah was fifth and fourth at the last two world championships after sweeping the Rio Olympic sprints. Like in Rome, her primary challengers in Doha are Ivorian Marie-Josée Ta Lou and 2018 U.S. champion Aleia Hobbs.

Women’s 3000m — 1:18 p.m.
A meeting of titans in a non-Olympic event. Chepkoech is the fastest steeplechaser in history by eight seconds. Obiri is the fastest Kenyan in history in the 3000m and the 5000m. Tsegay, just 23, chopped 3.26 seconds off her 1500m personal best in 2019, taking bronze at the world championships to become the second-fastest Ethiopian in history in that event. In all, the field includes five medalists from the 2019 Worlds across four different events.

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