Shaun White scored a perfect 100 to clinch his fourth Olympic berth on Saturday.
White won a U.S. Grand Prix at Snowmass, Colo., with a perfect score on the last run of the contest. Jake Pates and Ben Ferguson also qualified for their first Olympics on Saturday.
White scored a perfect 100 for what’s believed to be the second time in his career along with the 2012 Winter X Games. Perfect 100s are only given out on the last run of a contest, according to NBCOlympics.com’s Shawn Smith.
He threw a frontside double cork 1440, cab double cork 1080, frontside 540, double McTwist 1260 and frontside double cork 1260.
“Fell on the first run, fell on the second run, and I was like, let’s play it safe … until I’m standing in the start gate, and these guys are like, send the 14 first hit,” White said. “That’s even more risky than the last run we were trying to do. But I went for it, came through, stuck it.
“I was doing horribly [after two runs], and the suspense was killing me inside.”
White, the 2006 and 2010 Olympic halfpipe champion, is trying to bounce back from a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Olympics.
He won for the first time in three contests this season, returning after hard crashes in September and October, the latter resulting in 62 face stitches (video here).
“Now I feel like I’m on the right course for the Olympics,” White said. “These were Olympic judges. It’s great. If that’s the criteria they like, and they like what I’m doing, I’m going to keep this run and build from there.”
White edged Australian rival Scotty James, who scored 96.25 on his last run. James is the reigning X Games and world champion.
Pates and Ferguson were fourth and fifth but have done enough through the first three of four qualifiers to go to PyeongChang.
Spain’s Queralt Castellet won the women’s event Saturday with 91.50 points, followed by Americans Chloe Kim (88.75) and Maddie Mastro (87.25).
Kelly Clark was fourth and Arielle Gold sixth. Kim qualified for PyeongChang last month.
Nobody else qualified Saturday, but Mastro, Clark and Gold are in great position for the last spots.
The fourth and last snowboard halfpipe selection event is next weekend in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
The U.S. Grand Prix at Snowmass concludes Sunday with a second set of ski slopestyle finals. A full broadcast schedule is here.
Pates, 19, came from nowhere to qualify for the Olympic halfpipe team.
He’s never competed at Winter X Games Aspen but did sweep halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2016 Youth Olympics. He turned heads by winning the second Olympic qualifier in Breckenridge, Colo., last month.
Ferguson, 22, is more known. He was second at the 2016 X Games and the top American at the first qualifier last month.
Looking at the women’s standings, 2006 Olympic champion Hannah Teter and two-time Olympian Elena Hight may need to win the last qualifier to make it to PyeongChang.
U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings
through three of four events
three riders auto qualify per gender; one possible discretionary spot
1. Shaun White — 1,800* (QUALIFIED)
1. Ben Ferguson — 1,800* (QUALIFIED)
1. Jake Pates — 1,800* (QUALIFIED)
4. Danny Davis — 1,200 (3rd and 3rd)
5. Chase Josey — 1,000 (4th and 4th)
6. Gabe Ferguson — 950 (4th and 5th)
1. Chloe Kim — 2,000* (QUALIFIED)
2. Maddie Mastro — 1,600* (2nd and 2nd)
3. Kelly Clark — 1,400* (2nd and 3rd)
4. Arielle Gold — 1,100* (3rd and 4th)
5. Hannah Teter — 900 (5th and 5th)
6. Elena Hight — 850 (5th and 6th)
*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result.
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