Shaun White makes first halfpipe podium since 2018 Olympics

0 Comments

Shaun White confirmed at the Laax Open what we already knew.

First, he is one of the U.S.’ top four male halfpipe riders, and expected to be named to his fifth Olympic team next week. Second, he will be an underdog at the Olympics.

White, the three-time Olympic snowboarding champion, finished third in Saturday’s final in Switzerland in the first contest this season that brought together all of the world’s best. That’s his first podium in five contests since returning from a three-year break from competition.

Laax Open Results: Men | Women

White scored 84 points in his first run, highlighted by his signature double McTwist 1260. He landed back-to-back double cork 1440s to win the 2018 Olympics but has not attempted that trick in three finals this season.

White cruised on his second run and did not attempt any major tricks, already assured of finishing as the top American.

Olympic favorite Ayumu Hirano of Japan won with a first-run 93.25, including back-to-back 1440s.

Hirano, a two-time Olympic halfpipe silver medalist who then competed in skateboarding at the Tokyo Games, last month became the first snowboarder to land a triple cork in a halfpipe competition.

He tried another triple cork in his second run on Saturday but fell as he descended into the bottom of the pipe.

Fellow Japanese Ruka Hirano (no relation) landed on his butt on two triple cork attempts Saturday.

Australian Scotty James and Japanese Yūto Totsuka, the last two X Games Aspen winners, did not land clean runs and finished 11th and 12th.

Also Saturday, 2018 Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim won the women’s event and confirmed she’s just as big a gold-medal favorite as four years ago.

Kim, 21, landed a pair of 1080s in her first run, scoring 90.25 points. It held on to beat a field that included Olympic medal contenders Liu Xiayu and Cai Xuetong of China and Queralt Castellet of Spain.

Kim won all six of her contests since returning last season from a 19-month break from riding a snowboard.

Neither White nor Kim is on the invite list for next week’s X Games.

ON HER TURF: Kim confirms Olympic favorite status at Laax

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
Getty
0 Comments

At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
Getty
0 Comments

A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!