Shaun White struggles in first halfpipe contest of season

Getty Images
0 Comments

It’s not often that Shaun White fails to qualify for a halfpipe final, but that’s just what happened in his first contest of the season at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colo., on Wednesday.

The two-time Olympic champion finished 18th overall in qualifying with scores of 65.50 and 7.50 in his two runs. White lacked his typical speed and amplitude but didn’t crash, an event spokesman said.

White has finished fourth or better in just about all of his contests since 2002, when he just missed making the Salt Lake City Olympic team at age 15.

White’s worst major result in the last 14 years was a 10th at the 2004 Winter X Games, where he reportedly tore the meniscus in his right knee.

White finished fourth at both the Sochi Olympics and the 2015 X Games but came back strong last season, winning both of his contests — the Dew Tour Mountain Championships and U.S. Open.

Also at Copper Mountain, three-time Olympic halfpipe medalist Kelly Clark trained but opted not to compete as she works her way back from March hip surgery.

The finals are led by Sochi Olympic champion Iouri Podladtchikov and two-time X Games champion Chloe Kim.

NBCSports.com/live will stream the finals on Friday at 1 p.m. ET.

MORE: Olympic snowboard champion ‘on the fence’ about Pyeongchang 2018