Louie Vito hopes to stand out after missing Olympics

Louie Vito

Louie Vito said the best snowboarding of his career came last winter, even though he did not make the Sochi Olympic halfpipe team.

“I was putting down runs [in Olympic selection events] that people had never done before, tricks people had never done in certain spots,” Vito said.

The ultimate opinion in halfpipe belongs to judges. They did not share Vito’s point of view.

“It seemed like whatever I did,” Vito said, “I couldn’t get any love on it.”

Vito, who finished fifth at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics at 21 years old, couldn’t crack the top four U.S. riders over a series of selection events leading into Sochi.

Shaun White, Danny Davis (Vito’s roommate from their Stratton Mountain School days), Greg Bretz (a longtime Vito friend) and Taylor Gold went to Russia. Vito went to Chicago and did some riding of his own with a night skyline backdrop along Lake Michigan.

He didn’t watch the Sochi halfpipe final live. No American won a medal for the first time in Olympic history (dating to 1998).

“I had what it took to make the team,” Vito said. “I think I would’ve ridden well in Sochi because the tricks I do, I can land any time anywhere. You put me in a crappy pipe that’s going to be scary, and I’ll put something down. That’s taking nothing away from the Team USA guys.”

Vito later viewed highlights, focused on the Americans and also what kind of runs earned medals.

“It comes back down to what the judges were into,” Vito said, echoing his thoughts from the Vancouver final and the Olympic selection events. “I felt like I could’ve put something down to make it a competitive run. I can’t say where it would’ve landed me.”

Vito earned vindication one week after the Sochi Olympic team was named. He took second at the Winter X Games, his best-ever finish at the event*.

“That helped me make sense of everything,” Vito said. “Keep on riding the way I want to ride.”

Vito plans on riding for a while longer, perhaps to 2018 and beyond. All while continuing his away-from-competition ventures.

The former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant hosts a rail jam event for young riders in his native Ohio in December and will take part in the Wings for Life World Run for a second straight year on May 3. (Vito logged 13 miles before a chase car caught him at last year’s run, which was two miles more than Lolo Jones and 4.5 miles more than Mark McMorris.)

His next halfpipe season starts at the Dew Tour Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo., in three weeks.

“I went back to the drawing board a little bit [after missing Sochi], not in the sense of figuring out the next greatest trick in the world, but in differentiating yourself from the rest of the field,” Vito said.

*Clarification: Vito also owns two gold medals from the European Winter X Games.

Mikaela Shiffrin finishes 15th, 16th in super-Gs in Colorado

Shoma Uno leads Ilia Malinin at figure skating worlds; Japan wins first pairs’ title


Defending champion Shoma Uno of Japan bettered American Ilia Malinin in the world figure skating championships short program.

Malinin, 18, plans one of, if not the most difficult free skate in history on Saturday in a bid to overtake Uno to become the youngest world champion in 25 years.

Uno, who has reportedly dealt with an ankle injury, skated clean Thursday save doubling the back end of a planned quadruple toe loop-triple toe combination. He totaled 104.63 points, overtaking Malinin by 4.25 on home ice in Saitama.

“I was able to do better jumps compared to my practice in my short program today, and even if I am not in my best condition, I want to focus on other details other than my jumps as well,” Uno said, according to the International Skating Union.

Malinin, who this season landed the first quadruple Axel in competition, had a clean short after struggling with the program all autumn. He landed a quadruple Lutz-triple toe combo, a quad toe and a triple Axel. Uno beat him on artistic component scores.

“I was really in the moment,” said Malinin, who plans a record-tying six quads in Saturday’s free skate after attempting five at previous competitions this season. “I was really feeling my performance out there.”

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

The quad Axel is not allowed in the short program, but expect Malinin to include it in the free, and he likely needs it to beat Uno.

Malinin has been a force in skating, starting with his breakout silver-medal finish at the January 2022 U.S. Championships. He was left off last year’s Olympic team due to his inexperience, then won the world junior title last spring.

He entered these senior worlds ranked second in the field behind Uno, yet outside the top 15 in the world in the short program this season. After a comfortable win at January’s national championships, he can become the youngest men’s world champion since Russian Alexei Yagudin in 1998.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Jason Brown placed sixth with a clean short in his first full international competition since last year’s Olympics.

The third American, Andrew Torgashev, fell on his opening quad toe loop and ended up 22nd in his worlds debut.

Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen has not skated this season, going back to Yale, and is not expected to return to competition. Silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan has been out with left leg and ankle bone injuries. Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu retired.

Earlier Thursday, Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara won Japan’s first pairs’ world title, dethroning Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, who last year became the first Americans to win a pairs’ world title since 1979.

More on the pairs’ event here.

Worlds continue Thursday night (U.S. time) with the rhythm dance, followed Friday morning with the women’s free skate, live on Peacock and USA Network.

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2023 World Figure Skating Championships results


2023 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, top 10 and notable results …

Women (Short Program)
1. Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) — 79.24
2. Lee Hae-In (KOR) — 73.62
3. Mai Mihara (JPN) — 73.46
4. Isabeau Levito (USA) — 73.03
5. Loena Hendrickx (BEL) — 71.94
6. Niina Petrokina (EST) — 68.00
7. Nicole Schott (GER) — 67.29
8. Bradie Tennell (USA) — 66.45
9. Ekaterina Kurakova (POL) — 65.69
10. Amber Glenn (USA) — 65.52


Men (Short Program)
1. Shoma Uno (JPN) — 104.63
2. Ilia Malinin (USA) — 100.38
3. Cha Jun-Hwan (KOR) — 99.64
4. Keegan Messing (CAN) — 98.75
5. Kevin Aymoz (FRA) — 95.56
6. Jason Brown (USA) — 94.17
7. Kazuki Tomono (JPN) — 92.68
8. Daniel Grassl (ITA) — 86.50
9. Lukas Britschgi (SUI) — 86.18
10. Vladimir Litvintsev (AZE) — 82.71
17. Sota Yamamoto (JPN) — 75.48
22. Andrew Torgashev (USA) — 71.41

Gold: Riku Miura/Ryuichi Kihara (JPN) — 222.16
Silver: Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier (USA) — 217.48
Bronze: Sara Conti/Niccolo Macii (ITA) — 208.08
4. Deanna Stellato-Dudek/Maxime Deschamps (CAN) — 199.97
5. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe (USA) — 194.73
6. Lia Pereira/Trennt Michaud (CAN) — 193.00
7. Maria Pavlova/Alexei Sviatchenko (HUN) — 190.67
8. Anastasia Golubova/Hektor Giotopoulos Moore (AUS) — 189.47
9. Annika Hocke/Robert Kunkel (GER) — 184.60
10. Alisa Efimova/Ruben Blommaert (GER) — 184.46
12. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea (USA) — 175.59

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