Shaun White

U.S. Olympic snowboard, freeskiing teams to be named after busy weekend

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A combined 20 finals in snowboarding and freeskiing will be contested during a 58-hour stretch beginning Thursday to finalize an up-to-32-member Olympic Team over the events.

Weather postponements in Breckenridge, Colo., last week turned this week’s last Olympic selection event in snowboarding into a 12-final extravaganza beginning Thursday.

Shaun White has not qualified for the Olympics in either halfpipe or slopestyle through two of five selection competitions. He is likely to qualify in slopestyle and will need at least one strong finish in halfpipe. Even if he doesn’t qualify, he can be named to either event as a discretionary selection.

Scroll down for event-by-event standings and outlooks.

Here’s the snowboard finals schedule (separate finals for men and women, all times Eastern):

Thursday — Snowboard Slopestyle No. 3 — 12:30-2 p.m.
Thursday — Snowboard Slopestyle No. 4 — 4:30-6 p.m.
Friday — Snowboard Halfpipe No. 3 — 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Friday — Snowboard Halfpipe No. 4 — 3:10-5:30 p.m.
Saturday — Snowboard Slopestyle No. 5 — 2-4 p.m.
Sunday — Snowboard Halfpipe No. 5 — 2:40-5 p.m.

Freeskiing did get its third of five qualifiers in at Breckenridge, leaving a more manageable eight total finals in Park City, Utah, followed by an O.A.R. concert.

Here’s the freeskiing finals schedule:

Friday — Ski Slopestyle No. 4
Friday — Ski Halfpipe No. 4
Saturday — Ski Slopestyle No. 5 — 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Saturday — Ski Halfpipe No. 5 — 6:55-10:30 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.

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. 13, the U.S. had qualified 26 snowboarding quota spots — four men and women each in halfpipe and slopestyle, four men in snowboardcross, three 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 two 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. 13, 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).

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

Bretz and Gold are in strong positions as the winners of the first two events. Though White is fifth in points, he is in better position than Ferguson and Vito because he did not compete in the second event. 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Scotty Lago is in danger, having not achieved a top-four yet.

Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe — Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Kelly Clark — 2,000 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Arielle Gold — 1,400
3. Gretchen Bleiler — 1,000

Gold and the 2006 Olympic silver medalist Bleiler are in the driver’s seat, but Kaitlyn Farrington and two-time Olympian Elena Hight can put pressure on them — or surpass them — with top-four finishes. 2006 Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter is in danger with no top-fours yet.

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle — Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Shaun White — 1,320

White is the only American with a top-four finish so far, though Chas Guldemond has more points (1,800) without a top-four finish. They are in the best position, followed by Sage Kotsenburg (1,250) and Brandon Davis (1,100).

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

Anderson and Walker were the top Americans at the first two events, respectively. But with only two automatic spots, it will be tougher to clinch. Jessika Jenson and Jordie Karlinski could both pass them with better results this week.

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

Two-time Winter X Games champion Simon Dumont has 140 points but is not on this list because he has zero top-three finishes. If he does not finish in the top three Friday and Saturday, he will not earn an automatic Olympic spot. Reigning X Games and world silver medalist Torin Yater-Wallace will not compete and must hope to be put on the U.S. Olympic Team as a discretionary selection.

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

2009 World Champion and 2010 Winter X Games champion Jen Hudak is not entered in Park City after suffering major right knee injuries in December. She will not be going to Sochi. Sigourney is very close to clinching. Devin Logan, who is trying to qualify in halfpipe and slopestyle, needs top-three finishes Friday and Saturday to have a chance at earning an automatic spot.

Men’s Ski Slopestyle — Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Nick Goepper — 200 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Bobby Brown — 180

Brown all but clinched his spot by winning in Breckenridge last week. 2013 World Champion Tom Wallisch and 2011 World Champion Alex Schlopy need top-three finishes Friday and Saturday to have a chance at earning an automatic spot.

Women’s Ski Slopestyle — Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Devin Logan — 180 (has two top-three results)
2. Keri Herman — 160
3. Maggie Voisin — 140
4. Darian Stevens — 140
5. Grete Eliassen — 140

This is the tightest race of them all. Logan, Herman and Stevens can clinch with victories in either of the last two events, among other scenarios.

Rob Ford weighs in on Toronto 2024 bid

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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