Gretchen Bleiler

Kaitlyn Farrington

Arielle Gold, Kaitlyn Farrington, Hannah Teter earn Sochi berths

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Arielle Gold and Kaitlyn Farrington are going to their first Olympics. Gretchen Bleiler and Elena Hight will not be going to their third Olympics.

The final Olympic selection event in snowboard halfpipe event saw youth rule in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., on Sunday.

Farrington won with a first-run score of 91.4 points to wrap up her trip to Sochi. Gold was off the podium, but her previous results in selection events were good enough to earn an Olympic berth, too. They join 2002 Olympic champion Kelly Clark on the Olympic Team.

(Update: 2006 Olympic champion and 2010 silver medalist Hannah Teter was named as the fourth and final member of the Olympic Team via discretionary selection an hour after competition ended Sunday.)

The U.S. Olympic women’s snowboard halfpipe team will look different from 2006 and 2010, when the same four women competed — Clark, Teter, Bleiler and Hight.

Teter, the 2006 Olympic champion and 2010 silver medalist, was third with 89 points Sunday after a comeback weekend that saw her almost earn an automatic Olympic berth. She’ll take the discretionary spot and try to become the first woman to win an Olympic halfpipe medal at three straight Olympics.

Clark is the first U.S. women’s snowboarder to make four Olympic Teams. Snowboarding was added to the Olympic program in 1998.

Gold, 17 and the 2013 World Champion, joined her older brother, Taylor, on the Olympic halfpipe team.

There are 10 U.S. women’s halfpipe snowboarders with bio pages on the U.S. Snowboarding website. Farrington, 24, is not one of them, though she owns a 2011 Winter X Games silver medal.

In Sochi, the U.S. could sweep the podium. The top international threat is 2010 Olympic champion Torah Bright, who aims to compete in not only halfipe in Sochi, but also slopestyle and snowboardcross.

Bleiler, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, never finished higher than third in five Olympic selection events.

Hight, the first woman to land a 900 in competition in 2002 and a double cork in 2013, never finished higher than fifth.

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Shaun White lands new trick to win Mammoth halfpipe; Olympic picture crowded

Shaun White
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Shaun White moved closer to clinching his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in halfpipe with his two best runs this season, including an unprecedented one, in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., on Friday.

White, the two-time Olympic halfpipe champion, captured the fourth of five Olympic selection events with the two best scores — 97 in his first run followed by 98.6, which included a cab double cork 1440. It marked the first time he landed the trick in competition.

“I treated it like an Olympic event, like it is,” White said on NBCSN, after saying before the second run he was going to ride like it was practice. “I wanted to up my score. I wanted to do something under pressure.”

White beat 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Scotty Lago by 3.8. Taylor Gold was third and became the first man to clinch a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team in snowboard halfpipe.

On Thursday, White crashed in a slopestyle event and then clinched his spot in slopestyle in a later event. He skipped the first of two halfpipe events Friday.

“I just woke up in a world of hurt,” White said on NBCSN after going through physical therapy to heal a sore back and neck. “I just knew if I wanted to make a good showing today, it was quality over quantity.”

Lago took second place to join the race for an Olympic berth. He scored 94.8 for his first top-four result of the Olympic selection event series.

“It was do or die,” Lago said on NCBSN. “I had to get on the podium, or else I didn’t have a shot at the Olympics.”

White joined Greg Bretz and Gold with 1,800 points to lead Olympic selection event standings. Gold clinched a berth thanks to strong results in all four selection events so far. Two more will clinch at the conclusion of the fifth and final selection event Sunday in Mammoth Mountain.

Even if White does not clinch an automatic spot, he can be placed on the U.S. Olympic Team as a discretionary selection.

“It’s nice coming back to pipe, obviously, just because this is the one event I feel like I’ve got a little bit of a lead from the season before,” White said on NBCSN. “At least I’m up to par with the other riders. Slopestyle, I’ve been doing catching up with the tricks and learning about my competitors.”

Kelly Clark, the 2002 Olympic champion, stayed perfect by winning a fourth straight women’s event. She scored 94.8 points, beating Chloe Kim, who would have clinched her Olympic berth Friday if she wasn’t too young for the Olympics at 13.

“I had a disappointing fall on my first run,” Clark said on NBCSN. “Right now, everything for me is practice. To be able to come out, second run, under that kind of pressure and put down a run, if I have to do that in Russia, I’m ready.”

2006 Olympic champion Hannah Teter was third, her second straight top-four finish Friday to move into third place in the Olympic selection standings behind Clark and Arielle Gold.

There are two automatic Olympic women’s berths still available after Clark. Gold is extremely close to wrapping one up. Teter, Gretchen Bleiler and Kaitlyn Farrington are contenders, too.

It is likely a fourth woman will be chosen as a discretionary selection.

Here are the Olympic selection standings in snowboard halfpipe:

Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe — Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Taylor Gold — 1,800 (clinched Olympic berth)
1. Greg Bretz — 1,800
1. Shaun White — 1,800
4. Danny Davis — 1,450
5. Scotty Lago — 1,250
6. Ben Ferguson — 1,050
7. Matt Ladley — 1,000
7. Louie Vito — 1,000

Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe – Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Kelly Clark — 2,000 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Arielle Gold — 1,400
3. Hannah Teter — 1,200
4. Gretchen Bleiler — 1,050
5. Kaitlyn Farrington — 1,000

Reigning world champ must hope for discretionary pick to Olympics

Danny Davis wins in Mammoth; White sits out, Teter bounces back

Danny Davis
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Danny Davis is in the mix to make his first Olympic Team, four years after an all-terrain vehicle accident kept him from the Vancouver Games.

Davis won the third of five Olympic selection events with 95.20 points in his first of two runs in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., on Friday. Two-time Olympic champion Shaun White sat out the contest after crashing and clinching an Olympic berth in slopestyle Thursday.

Davis edged Taylor Gold by 1.2 points. Matt Ladley was third.

On Jan. 6, 2010, Davis beat White en route to what looked like an Olympic spot. But in the early morning hours of Jan. 17, he drunkenly rode an ATV with friends into a metal fence, breaking his third lumbar vertebrae and shattering his pelvis.

Kelly Clark won the women’s event with 95 points, making her three for three in Olympic selection events. She had already clinched an Olympic berth.

Chloe Kim, who at 13 is too young for the Olympics, was second to Clark for her second podium in three selection events.

2006 Olympic champion Hannah Teter was third, a crucial result for her. Teter earned her first top-four finish in a selection events, joining the race for one of two automatic Olympic spots after Clark.

She is behind Arielle Gold, 2006 Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler and Kaitlyn Farrington in the standings.

The fourth Olympic selection event is later Friday. The fifth is Sunday, after which the Olympic Team will be named.

Here are the Olympic selection standings:

Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe — Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Greg Bretz — 1,800
1. Taylor Gold — 1,800
3. Danny Davis — 1,450
4. Ben Ferguson — 1,050
5. Louie Vito — 1,000
6. Matt Ladley — 890
7. Shaun White — 800

Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe – Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Kelly Clark — 2,000 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Arielle Gold — 1,400
3. Gretchen Bleiler — 1,050
4. Kaitlyn Farrington — 1,000
5. Hannah Teter — 960

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