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Another snowboarder makes Olympic team as qualifying winds down

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Faye Gulini is going to her third Olympics on the U.S. snowboard cross team, but will Olympic medalists Seth Wescott and Alex Deibold join her?

Gulini, 25, clinched her PyeongChang spot Friday after the fourth of five selection events this season.

Her runner-up finish at the third event last Saturday proved enough for her to automatically join 2006 Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis as the first two snowboard cross racers to make the team.

Up to two more women could be added to the team next month.

Gulini goes into PyeongChang with arguably her best chance yet to win a medal. She was 12th in Vancouver as a high school senior and fourth in Sochi.

She made her first top-level senior international podium last Saturday and ranks fifth in the world. Gulini became the first U.S. woman other than Jacobellis to stand on a World Cup podium since March 2012.

The Salt Lake City native served as an extra at the 2002 Olympic Opening Ceremony as a “Child of Light,” wearing a big, furry jacket and carrying a little lantern.

The U.S. men’s snowboard cross qualifying picture is less sorted.

One man — part-time plumber Jonathan Cheever, going for his first Olympics at age 32, — has the minimum automatic qualifying criteria of one podium finish through four of the five qualifiers.

Cheever is now guaranteed to make the Olympic team unless three other U.S. men sweep the podium at the last qualifier in Turkey on Jan. 20.

The men chasing a podium Jan. 20 include some of the most accomplishment riders in U.S. history.

Seth Wescott, who won the first two Olympic men’s snowboard cross titles in 2006 and 2010 and just missed the 2014 Olympics, has a best finish of 37th in three World Cups this season. The 41-year-old looks like a long shot.

Alex Deibold, the Sochi Olympic bronze medalist, just missed the podium on Friday, finishing last of four riders in the final in Italy.

Nate Holland, a three-time Olympian and seven-time X Games champ, has a best finish this season of 10th.

Two-time Olympian Nick BaumgartnerHagen KearneyMick Dierdorff and Deibold all have better results than Holland this season, putting pressure on the veteran to deliver Jan. 20.

Once the qualifying events are over, a committee will round out the Olympic roster of up to four men.

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MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Olympic team

Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

“Was starting to think that I’m so old that I can’t time trial anymore,” Mantia, a 34-year-old whose last 1500m personal best came in 2015, told media in Utah. “Maybe there’s a little bit of hope left.”

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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