Snowboard star Shaun White’s Olympic status is still uncertain – NBC Los Angeles

Shaun White arrived at Mammoth Mountain hoping to secure a spot on his fifth Olympic team.

The snowboard superstar left it with a sore ankle and still too busy to work.

White put in a solid run during qualifying at the US Grand Prix on Saturday night, but in the process exacerbated a persistent ankle problem and decided not to play in the finals.

It resulted in the announcement on late Saturday night of the strange location of part of the U.S. Olympic Snowboard and Freestyle Team 2022 without the 35-year-old who redefined the sport.

U.S. ski and snowboard head coach Mike Jankowski said White went back to the top of the halfpipe for the final but couldn’t warm up enough to play at the level that made him one of the faces of the U.S. the American Winter Olympics program has made for more than two decades.

“If you’re a little off and don’t feel your A-game, at this level, at night in the icy white, it’s risky, as you know, so he decided to take a break,” said Jankowski.

The setback was the youngest in a string for White since returning to the sport after a three-year sabbatical following his dramatic final run triumph in Korea in 2018.

He ranked eighth and seventh at separate events last month and said earlier this week that he contracted COVID-19 in late December, describing his symptoms as a severe cold.

White arrived in California this week as the third-placed American in a discipline dominated by the Japanese. He emphasized the importance of generating some momentum on the way to China. Now he’s in fourth place behind a group led by 2014 Olympian Taylor Gold, though White is likely still in a good position provided he’s healthy. The team does not need to be finalized before January 21st.

“(White) just wants to train and keep working hard and get better and better,” said Jankowski. “He hopes that the point where he is now remains stable and that he gets the nomination for the team.”

While White’s status is still unclear, some of his contemporaries, who have multiple Olympic gold medals at home, punched their tickets to Beijing.

Two-time gold medalist in the freestyle halfpipe, David Wise, scored a strong 95.25 on his first run in the final, finishing second to New Zealand’s Nico Porteous to secure a shot on a three-pore, something the 31-year-old feared doesn’t happen after finishing a series of podiums.

Wise’s ability to drill a barrel when he really needed it – with a ton of support that included his parents, wife and two children, and friends who made the three-hour trip from the Reno, Nevada area – made his Third place Olympic appearance all the sweeter.

“For the last two times, I’ve been the first to lock my seat in,” said Wise. “And that was definitely not the case this time. I did it by locking it up at the last minute. But this fight only gives me a little more ammunition for Beijing. “

Wise will be joined by Alex Ferreira, who took silver four years ago in Korea in a one-two in the USA. Aaron Blunck will make his third Olympic appearance in the halfpipe.

Two-time Olympic champion Jamie Anderson will have the chance to win a three-point in the women’s snowboard slopestyle. Anderson, who also took silver in Big Air in Korea in 2018, will travel to China with a little momentum after defeating Zoi Sadowski Synnott from New Zealand in the slopestyle final on Saturday.

“When you come back as a two-time champion you feel the heat and the pressure, but I am also grateful to have the privilege of representing our country and doing what I love and hopefully inspiring young girls and young people everywhere to follow their dreams, ”said Anderson.

Hailey Langland will return to the Olympics for the second time after competing in both slopestyle and big air in Pyeongchang.

Reigning halfpipe champion Chloe Kim leads the women’s snowboard halfpipe team. 21-year-old Kim shot gold in Korea as a teenager and, like White, became the standard bearer of her sport a decade ago, winning five tournaments in a row en route to Beijing.

Maddie Mastro, the last athlete to beat Kim, will join Kim in China despite recovering from an ankle injury sustained after a serious fall at a Dew Tour event in Colorado last month.

Red Gerard has a chance to defend his gold medal in snowboard slopestyle after securing an automatic slot. He is accompanied on the slope course by Dusty Hendrickson and Chris Corning.

The women’s freestyle halfpipe team is led by 17-year-old newcomer Hanna Faulhaber, who just finished second behind Eileen Gu – an 18-year-old native of San Francisco who will compete for China, where her mother is from. Brita Sigourney, a 2018 bronze medalist, will look to expand her medal wins at her recent Olympics.


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