Alex Schlopy

Gus Kenworthy

Gus Kenworthy locks up U.S. Olympic ski slopestyle spot

Leave a comment

Gus Kenworthy earned the third automatic U.S. men’s Olympic ski slopestyle berth Saturday, leaving the last two world champions to hope for one possible discretionary selection.

Kenworthy, 22 and born in London, took second in the fifth and final Olympic selection event in Park City, Utah, scoring a 95-point run. Another American, Joss Christensen, won with 95.6 points.

Christensen did not qualify for the Olympics because he did not have a previous podium result in Olympic selection events.

Nick Goepper and Bobby Brown had previously earned automatic U.S. Olympic spots in ski halfpipe. Kenworthy joins them and will look for his first medal at a major event, having not made the podium at a Winter X Games or World Championships.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association could add one more man to the Olympic Team as a discretionary pick. The top contenders are 2013 World Champion Tom Wallisch, 2011 World Champion Alex Schlopy and Christensen.

U.S. Olympic Skeleton Team named

Bobby Brown clinches Olympic spot as Alex Schlopy wins ski slopestyle event

Bobby Brown
Leave a comment

Bobby Brown is going to Sochi. Alex Schlopy moved closer to joining him Friday, while the reigning world champion must wait and hope.

Schlopy, the 2011 World Champion, won with a first-run score of 92.20 in the fourth of five Olympic selection events in ski slopestyle at Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Brown, the 2010 Winter X Games champion, was second with 91.80. That was enough for Brown to join Nick Goepper on the U.S. Olympic Team with a final Olympic selection event coming Saturday.

Gus Kenworthy was third. Kenworthy and Schlopy are the only skiers who could clinch the last possible automatic spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in the final selection event. They need a top-three result overall.

Schlopy is the son of two-time U.S. Olympic Alpine skier Holly Flanders and former Buffalo Bills kicker Todd Schlopy. He’s also the cousin of three-time U.S. Olympic Alpine skier Erik Schlopy, who is married to four-time U.S. Olympic swimming medalist Summer Sanders.

Tom Wallisch, the 2013 World Champion, finished ninth. That is notable because it eliminated any chance of Wallisch automatically qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team. He could still be named as a discretionary selection.

Here are the Olympic selection standings through four of five events:

Men’s Ski Slopestyle – Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Nick Goepper — 200 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Bobby Brown — 180 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Alex Schlopy — 150
4. Gus Kenworthy — 110

Devin Logan halfway to Olympic double

Nick Goepper wins Dew Tour ski slopestyle without poles (video)

Nick Goepper
1 Comment

No ski poles, no problem.

Nick Goepper, an unlikely freeskier from Indiana, won the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships ski slopestyle to take an early lead in what should be a very competitive race to make the first U.S. Olympic Team in the event.

Goepper, the reigning Winter X Games champion, scored 93.00 points in the first of two final runs without poles because of a broken hand. It held up to win despite strong second runs from international stars in Breckenridge, Colo., on Sunday.

“I was just happy that I made it over all the jumps,” Goepper told NBC after his first run. “It’s pretty windy. … I’ll be back with the poles, I don’t know, in a couple weeks.”

Canadian Alex Beaulieu-Marchand took second with a 91.20-point second run. Australian Russ Henshaw was third.

Men’s ski slopestyle might be the toughest U.S. Olympic freeskiing team to make. Every World Championship and X Games gold medal since 2010 has gone to an American.

2010 X Games champion Bobby Brown was fourth, followed by the last two world champions, Tom Wallisch and Alex Schlopy, in fifth and seventh, respectively.

Schlopy is the son of two-time U.S. Olympic Alpine skier Holly Flanders and former Buffalo Bills kicker Todd Schlopy. He’s also the cousin of three-time U.S. Olympic Alpine skier Erik Schlopy, who is married to four-time U.S. Olympic swimming medalist Summer Sanders.

Breckenridge marked the first of five Olympic selection events for snowboarding and freeskiing. The next four events are on the U.S. Grand Prix schedule — Copper Mountain, Colo., next weekend, followed by Northstar, Calif., Park City, Utah, and Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

The five events will determine Olympians in snowboard halfpipe and the new Olympic events of snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle. The Olympic rosters are expected to be announced Jan. 22.

The overall Olympic qualification standings will be determined by the two best results for an athlete over the selection events. No more than four athletes can make the U.S. Olympic Team per event. It’s possible fewer than four will be named for some events.

“This takes off, I’d say, half the pressure [of making the Olympic team],” Goepper said on NBC. “The ideal goal is to get two podiums.”

Breckenridge Ski Slopestyle
1. Nick Goepper (USA) 93.00
2. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (CAN) 91.20
3. Russ Henshaw (AUS) 90.00
4. Bobby Brown (USA) 89.80
5. Tom Wallisch (USA) 89.20
7. Alex Schlopy (USA) 85.60

Two U.S. halfpipe skiers suffer serious injuries