U.S. Olympic snowboard, freeski teams to be named after busy weekend
A combined 20 finals in snowboarding and freeskiing will be contested during a 58-hour stretch beginning Thursday to finalize an up-to-32-member Olympic Team over the events.
Weather postponements in Breckenridge, Colo., last week turned this week’s last Olympic selection event in snowboarding into a 12-final extravaganza beginning Thursday.
Shaun White has not qualified for the Olympics in either halfpipe or slopestyle through two of five selection competitions. He is likely to qualify in slopestyle and will need at least one strong finish in halfpipe. Even if he doesn’t qualify, he can be named to either event as a discretionary selection.
Scroll down for event-by-event standings and outlooks.
Embedded video_content_type: Taylor Gold wins Copper Mountain snowboard pipe
Here’s the snowboard finals schedule (separate finals for men and women, all times Eastern):
Thursday — Snowboard Slopestyle No. 3 — 12:30-2 p.m.
Thursday — Snowboard Slopestyle No. 4 — 4:30-6 p.m.
Friday — Snowboard Halfpipe No. 3 — 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Friday — Snowboard Halfpipe No. 4 — 3:10-5:30 p.m.
Saturday — Snowboard Slopestyle No. 5 — 2-4 p.m.
Sunday — Snowboard Halfpipe No. 5 — 2:40-5 p.m.
Freeskiing did get its third of five qualifiers in at Breckenridge, leaving a more manageable eight total finals in Park City, Utah, followed by an O.A.R. concert.
Here’s the freeskiing finals schedule:
Friday — Ski Slopestyle No. 4 — 2-3:30 p.m.
Friday — Ski Halfpipe No. 4 — 9-10:30 p.m.
Saturday — Ski Slopestyle No. 5 — 2-3:30 p.m.
Saturday — Ski Halfpipe No. 5 — 8:30-10:30 p.m.
Here’s the text for snowboarding:
"Up to three halfpipe athletes per gender who have had a top four result, against the entire competition field, in the selection events will be named to the Olympic team. If more than three athletes, in either gender, have had a top four result then ties will be broken. … Each athlete’s best two results will be combined to create a ranking list for nomination in each gender.
Up to three slopestyle men and two slopestyle women athletes who have had a top four result, against the entire competition field, in the selection events will be named to the Olympic team. If more than three men and two women athletes have had a top four result then ties will be broken. … Each athlete’s best two results will be combined to create a ranking list for nomination in each gender."
Embedded owg_slideshow: Road to Sochi: Shaun White
Here’s the text for freestyle skiing:
"Up to three halfpipe (or slopestyle) athletes per gender who have had two top three results against the entire competition field in the selection events during the selection period will be named to the Olympic team. If more than three athletes, in either gender, have had two top three results then ties will be broken. … Each athlete’s best two results will be combined to create a ranking list for nomination in each gender."
Here’s where it gets tricky.
A nation can’t send more than 24 snowboarders to the Olympics across all disciplines — halfpipe, slopestyle, snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom — even though it could qualify up to 32 Olympic snowboarding spots (four per gender per event).
As of Jan. 13, the U.S. had qualified 26 snowboarding quota spots — four men and women each in halfpipe and slopestyle, four men in snowboard cross, three women in snowboard cross, two men in parallel and one woman in parallel. If it stays that way, the U.S. will not be able to fill two of those spots.
A nation can’t send more than 26 freestyle skiers to the Olympics across all disciplines — aerials, moguls, skicross, ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle — even though it could qualify up to 40 Olympic freestyle skiing spots (four per gender per event).
As of Jan. 13, the U.S. had qualified 34 freestyle skiing quota spots — four men and women each in aerials, moguls, ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle, two men in skicross and zero women in skicross. If it stays that way, the U.S. will not be able to fill eight of those spots.
The Olympic selection tiebreaker rankings for halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding and skiing are calculated the same as World Cup standings, on a points system that begins with:
First place — 1,000 points (for snowboarding, 100 for freeskiing)
Second — 800 (80 for freeskiing)
Third — 600 (60 for freeskiing)
Fourth — 500 (50 for freeskiing)
The tiebreaker rankings throw out results by international athletes (such as Australian Torah Bright, who won the Dew Tour women’s halfpipe).
That in mind, here are the Olympic selection event tiebreaker rankings for snowboard halfpipe, snowboard slopestyle, ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle (only counting snowboarders with top-four results and skiers with top-three results).
Embedded video_content_type: Shaun White gets 'twisted' on winning run
Bretz and Gold are in strong positions as the winners of the first two events. Though White is fifth in points, he is in better position than Ferguson and Vito because he did not compete in the second event. 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Scotty Lago is in danger, having not achieved a top-four yet.
Gold and the 2006 Olympic silver medalist Bleiler are in the driver’s seat, but Kaitlyn Farrington and two-time Olympian Elena Hight can put pressure on them — or surpass them — with top-four finishes. 2006 Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter is in danger with no top-fours yet.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Model Olympian: Kaitlyn Farrington
Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle – Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Shaun White — 1,320
White is the only American with a top-four finish so far, though Chas Guldemond has more points (1,800) without a top-four finish. They are in the best position, followed by Sage Kotsenburg (1,250) and Brandon Davis (1,100).
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle — Two automatic Olympic spots
1. Jamie Anderson — 1,800
2. Ty Walker — 1,500
Anderson and Walker were the top Americans at the first two events, respectively. But with only two automatic spots, it will be tougher to clinch. Jessika Jenson and Jordie Karlinski could both pass them with better results this week.
Embedded video_content_type: Jamie Anderson: Beyond the board
Two-time Winter X Games champion Simon Dumont has 140 points but is not on this list because he has zero top-three finishes. If he does not finish in the top three Friday and Saturday, he will not earn an automatic Olympic spot. Reigning X Games and world silver medalist Torin Yater-Wallace is in Park City but hasn’t decided if he will compete as of Wednesday afternoon, according to USSA. Yater-Wallace crashed at the first Olympic selection event Dec. 14 and broke two ribs a few weeks after suffering a collapsed lung.
Women’s Ski Halfpipe – Three automatic Olympic spots
1. Maddie Bowman — 200 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Brita Sigourney — 180 (has two top-three results)
3. Angeli VanLaanen — 130
2009 world champion and 2010 Winter X Games champion Jen Hudak is not entered in Park City after suffering major right knee injuries in December. She will not be going to Sochi. Sigourney is very close to clinching. Devin Logan, who is trying to qualify in halfpipe and slopestyle, needs top-three finishes Friday and Saturday to have a chance at earning an automatic spot.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Growing up Maddie Bowman
Brown all but clinched his spot by winning in Breckenridge last week. 2013 world champion Tom Wallisch and 2011 world champion Alex Schlopy need top-three finishes Friday and Saturday to have a chance at earning an automatic spot.
This is the tightest race of them all. Logan, Herman and Stevens can clinch with victories in either of the last two events, among other scenarios.
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Embedded owg_slideshow: Grete Eliassen's not camera shy
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