Sage Kotsenberg, Shaun White and Kyle Mack on the podium Thursday at the Paul Mitchell Slopestyle at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, where White mathematically clinched a spot on the first-ever U.S. Olympic team for slopestyle snowboarding. (Getty Images/Harry How)
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, CA (Jan. 16) – Olympic halfpipe champion Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) mathematically clinched a spot on the first-ever U.S. Olympic team for slopestyle snowboarding on Thursday at the Paul Mitchell Slopestyle at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix. White crashed hard in Thursday’s earlier competition and was down for nearly five minutes before he rode away. He then managed to refocus and put down a show-stopping run two hours later, posting a massive score and securing his spot on the Olympic team. Three-time X Games champion Jamie Anderson (S. Lake Tahoe, CA) won the women’s competition, going two for two during Thursday’s slopestyle snowboarding doubleheader. White and the other athletes are set to compete in a halfpipe snowboarding doubleheader Friday. Tune into ussnowboarding.com for a live stream of the action starting at 12:30 p.m. EST.
Olympic halfpipe champion Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) mathematically clinched a spot on the first-ever U.S. Olympic team for slopestyle snowboarding on Thursday at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain.
Three-time X Games champion Jamie Anderson (S. Lake Tahoe, CA) won the women’s competition, going two for two during Thursday’s slopestyle snowboarding doubleheader. Anderson mathematically clinched her spot in Thursday’s earlier qualifier, but further secured her spot with her second victory.
Thursday featured two slopestyle Olympic qualifiers after the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Breckenridge was canceled last week because of challenging weather conditions.
White crashed hard in the first of two runs during Thursday’s first qualifier event, and he was down for five minutes before he rode off under his own power. He came back in the second run but couldn’t put his run to his feet.
Just two hours later he managed to refocus and put down a show-stopping run, posting a massive score and becoming the first American man to clinch a spot on the team for the Olympic debut of slopestyle snowboarding.
Sage Kotsenberg (Park City, UT) took second with Kyle Mack (West Bloomfield, MI) third and Ryan Stassel (Anchorage) in fourth.
Jordie Karlinski (Snowmass, CO) sealed a second place finish for the women with Jessika Jenson (Rigby, ID) third and Ty Walker (Stowe, VT) fourth. Walker also endured a violent crash during her second run, when she skidded into the fencing, became tangled and slammed down hard, breaking her helmet in half.
The slopestyle snowboarding debut will open the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, with the qualification round a day prior to the opening ceremony and finals the day after the opening.
Saturday’s slopestyle will be the last chance for the athletes to meet the objective criteria for Olympic qualification.
Shaun White and other halfpipe athletes are set to compete in a halfpipe snowboarding doubleheader Friday, when they will battle for Olympic spots at the third and fourth Olympic qualifier events.
Tune into ussnowboarding.com for a live stream of the halfpipe action starting at 12:30 p.m. EST, and then tune into NBCSN or nbcsports.com/liveextra for the fourth halfpipe qualification event at 4:00 p.m. EST Friday.
QUOTES Shaun White I’m just so thankful to make that run and to be on top of the podium and heading to Sochi. I’m just beside myself. It went from one side of the coin all the way to the other from this morning with that crash to now winning.
I was pretty messed up this morning. I didn’t really see that coming. I haven’t taken a hit like that in a long time. I was almost thinking about calling the whole event. I couldn’t really see straight and everything was a little blurry. Then I sat there and decided to do that second run and it didn’t really work out. But I feel good. I definitely just rang my bell. It’s all in how I feel tomorrow. You crash and then the next morning is when you really feel it. I have a date with a bathtub full of ice right now.
As far as it goes now, I’m just looking to pipe tomorrow to see if I get another lock on a spot. I got one; I’ve got to get another.
Jamie Anderson It feels friggin’ awesome, something that I’ve never felt before. It was a really long day and I was just trying to balance my energy. I was getting really tired towards the end. I just stayed in the present moment, drank a bunch of water and ate some good food and now I feel great. I definitely need a good stretch session though.
Being able to go to Sochi and represent slopestyle for the first year is so special and such an honor. I’m pretty blown away with the whole experience and that snowboarding is an Olympic event. It still throws me off because I watch the Olympics and watch the gymnastics and runners and they just seem like just such top-notch, beautiful athletes, and snowboarding is so different! But it’s so inspiring that it’s respected in that manner and that we have a chance to go there and show the world what it’s all about.
Jordie Karlinski It was hard. I’ve never done something like this. I had to just take it as a separate day and train again. Honestly, I was tired. In my second run I was feeling it in my legs. But I’m happy to have landed my first run. I knew I would come here and have no regrets and do my best. I’m happy with today and hopefully Saturday goes as well.