Maddie Bowman

Maddie Bowman, David Wise make U.S. Olympic Team in ski halfpipe

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Maddie Bowman and David Wise are the first halfpipe skiers to qualify for a U.S. Olympic Team.

Bowman and Wise won the third of five Olympic selection events in Breckenridge, Colo., on Sunday. Combined with past Olympic selection event results, they mathematically clinched berths in Sochi.

Ski halfpipe is making its Olympic debut this year.

Bowman, 20, is the reigning Winter X Games champion and a gold-medal contender.

“I’ve just been trying to take each competition day by day, not looking at the big ‘O,’ but now that I know I get to compete there so I’m pretty excited,” she said, according to U.S. Freeskiing.

Wise, 23, is the two-time reigning Winter X Games champion and reigning world champion. He lives in Reno, Nev., and is married with a daughter.

“I’ve been saying all along that just qualifying for this super strong American team is almost the harder challenge than actually competing in the Olympics is going to be, so this is a tremendous relief,” Wise said, according to ESPN.com. “Just to get it out of the way and lock in the spot feels amazing. Now the pressure’s off and I don’t have to send it as much, so I can focus on just having fun and figuring out the run I want to bring to Russia.”

The fourth and fifth Olympic selection events will both be in Park City, Utah, this week, concluding next Sunday.

Up to three halfpipe skiers per gender with at least two top-three results in Olympic selection events will clinch Olympic berths. If there are more than three, they go into tiebreaker rankings.

Here are the Olympic selection tiebreaker rankings, only counting those with at least one top-three result, in ski halfpipe through three of five events:

Men’s Ski Halfpipe
1. David Wise — 200 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Aaron Blunck — 180 (has two top-three results)
3. Gus Kenworthy — 120
4. Lyman Currier — 110

Women’s Ski Halfpipe
1. Maddie Bowman — 200 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Brita Sigourney — 180 (has two top-three results)
3. Angeli VanLaanen — 130

Shaun White unlikely to compete in Winter X Games

World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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