American-born Russian Vic Wild loves his new country, and they love him. He took his second Olympic gold in a thrilling final over Zan Kosir, who also took his second medal of the Games. As unpredictable as this sport may be, each of the medalists was a repeat — Benjamin Karl reached the podium in parallel giant slalom in 2010.
Event: Men’s parallel slalom
Medalists: Vic Wild (Russia), Zan Kosir (Slovenia), Benjamin Karl (Austria)
SportsMyriad projections: Andreas Prommegger (Austria), Roland Fischnaller (Italy), Rok Marguc (Austria)
How U.S. fared: Justin Reiter, a World Championship silver medalist, missed a gate on the first run of qualifying.
What happened: The favorites made it through qualifying, but many of them tumbled in the round of 16. World champion Rok Marguc (Slovenia) had a clumsy turn early in the second round and couldn’t catch Germany’s Patrick Bussler. Austrian Andreas Prommegger lost a close one to countrymate Benjamin Karl. Switzerland’s Simon Schoch went off course.
But all three parallel giant slalom medalists advanced, with Zan Kosir taking out decorated 38-year-old Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson.
Quarterfinals: You could send Vic Wild gaining momentum again, as he had in the parallel giant slalom. He beat Italian favorite Roland Fischnaller, with a small gap in each run. Slovenia Zan Kosir also kept up his quest for a second medal, holding off fellow PGS medalist Nevin Galmarini. Austrian favorite Karl rallied from a slight deficit to beat Bussler, and Italy’s Aaron March advanced.
Karl could hardly have better credentials — 2010 silver medalist in PGS, four wins in the last three World Championships — though his current World Cup season wasn’t as strong.
March has a handful of World Cup podiums. Kosir has been a strong World Cup performer for the past couple of seasons. Wild, even before winning PGS gold, was having the season of his life.
Semifinals: Vic Wild’s quest for double gold was surely gone. A slip in the first run left him 1.12 seconds behind Karl. Surely it was over.
You guessed it — it wasn’t over. Karl never slipped, but Wild just reeled him in through a thrilling second run. He came across 0.04 seconds ahead, and the crowd went … well, Wild.
Zan Kosir took an 0.74 lead in the first run. March wiped out halfway down the second run, and Kosir simply stayed on his feet to reach the final.
Finals: March didn’t offer much resistance to Karl, who cruised across the line to be greeted by fellow Austrian Julia Dujmovits, who had just won gold in the women’s event.
Wild and Kosir had a tight first run, with Wild leading by 0.12 seconds. Kosir had a great start in the second run, but Wild pulled slightly ahead. Kosir caught up but went slightly wide. Wild held on to win by 0.11 for his second gold of the Games.
The first Olympic parallel slalom — just like parallel giant slalom but slightly smaller — was as unpredictable as ever. But a solid rider, Austria’s Julia Dujmovits, came up with the clutch performance to win gold. Germany took the next two places, with Amelie Kober adding parallel slalom bronze to the parallel giant slalom silver she won in 2006.
Event: Women’s parallel slalom
Medalists: Julia Dujmovits (Austria), Anke Karstens (Germany), Amelie Kober (Germany)
What happened: Qualifying tripped up all three Canadians, including contender Caroline Calve, and Norway’s Hilde-Katrine Engeli. Austrian favorite Marion Kreiner was the qualifying leader.
Kreiner easily beat world champion Ekaterina Tudegesheva in the round of 16. Another Austrian, Julia Dujmovits, took out another Russian favorite, parallel giant slalom bronze medalist Alena Zavarzina.
In fact, all three parallel giant slalom medalists went out in the round of 16. Japan’s Tomoka Takeuchi stumbled in the second run against Switzerland’s Julie Zogg, and Germany’s Amelie Kober beat Swiss gold medalist Patrizia Kummer by 0.10 seconds.
Quarterfinals: Kreiner had a mishap in the first run and was 1.25 seconds behind Italy’s Corinna Boccacini. The Austrian nearly caught her in the second run but finished 0.05 seconds behind. Another Austrian, Ina Meschik, missed out by an even smaller margin, 0.01 behind Kober. Zogg stumbled, sending Dujmovits through. Anke Karstens made it two Germans in the semifinals, rallying from a first-run deficit to beat the Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka.
Semifinals: Dujmovits built an 0.80-second lead in the first run, and Boccacini lost an edge trying to make up the gap. Kober didn’t complete the first run of the all-German semifinal, incurring a 1.5-second gap for the second run, and she came within 0.09 seconds of making it up.
Dujmovits wasn’t too much of a surprise — she’s third in World Cup parallel events, and she was second in the World Championship parallel giant slalom last year. Karstens was fifth in PGS in 2010, but she didn’t have a lot of World Cup success, placing no higher than eighth in PGS and 17th in parallel slalom this season.
Kober won the 2006 PGS silver medal and 2013 PS World Championship bronze. Boccacini is in her third Olympics but with a much thinner resume.
Finals: Kober took a solid 0.44-second lead in the first leg, enough to hold on for bronze despite a little bobble down the stretch.
Karstens surprisingly led Dujmovits by 0.72 seconds after the first leg. With four gates left, Karstens looked like she had held off the Austrian favorite. But Karstens went a little wide, and Dujmovits capitalized. She slid onto her back and raised her arms in celebration after the finish line.
What happened: World champion Isabella Laböck and 2010 bronze medalist Marion Kreiner failed to qualify for the elimination rounds, in which 16 riders face off head to head. Kreiner, also the 2009 world champion and 2013 World Cup champion, had finished in the top 10 in 12 of her last 13 World Cup PGS events.
Japanese favorite Tomoka Takeuchi posted the best qualifying time, followed by World Cup leader Patrizia Kummer (Switzerland).
But other favorties kept losing out in the round of 16. Russia’s Ekaterina Ilyukhina, the defending silver medalist, had a rough first run and so nearly made it up in the second, finishing 0.03 seconds behind Canada’s Caroline Calve. The Netherland’s Nicolien Sauerbreij, the defending champion, led after the first run but came across the line 0.05 seconds behind Austria’s Ina Meschik.
Three Canadians — Calve, Marianne Leeson and Ariane (not Avril) Lavigne — advanced. As luck would have it, they didn’t have to face each other in the quarterfinals. But Calve had to face Takeuchi and hit trouble early in the second run. Austria’s Ina Meschik rallied in the second run to take out Leeson. Lavigne had a slight lead against Russia’s Alena Zavarzina but couldn’t hold it, and the last Canadian hope drifted off course on a late turn.
Zavarzina had a great husband-and-wife story going with Vic Wild, who had advanced to the men’s semifinal. But she was slightly behind Kummer after the first leg and crashed in the second.
Meanwhile, Takeuchi was cruising. She built a 1.01-second lead over Meschik in the semifinal first run, and Meschik crashed trying to make up the difference.
Zavarzina came back to win the small final. With Wild in the big final in the men’s side, that guaranteed two medals in her household.
Takeuchi had a 0.30-second lead after the first run. The World Cup leader Kummer started to catch up and pulled ahead. Takeuchi fell with four gates to go, and Kummer took gold.
A couple of favorites struggled, and American Ty Walker did the bare minimum to keep going. But Jamie Anderson lived up to her favorite status.
Date: 6- Feb
Event: Women’s slopestyle qualifing, second heat
How U.S. fared: Gold medal favorite Jamie Anderson was smooth as silk in the air and on all her landings in her first run, posting a massive 93.50. With her qualification safe, she opted not to take her second run.
Ty Walker was the first rider, but she bypassed every ramp. Her score: 1.00. (One judge gave her a 2.) Then she skipped her second run. Why? She’s hurt, and all she had to do to make the semifinals was make it down the slope once. Strategically, nothing wrong with it — just very strange to watch.
The stunner was Karly Shorr. The inexperienced 19-year-old slipped on her first run. On her second, needing to beat 77.75 to qualify for the final, she nailed it — 84.75.
Jessika Jenson slipped a little on each run.
What happened: Another surprise was Anna Gasser, a solid fifth in the X Games but not expected to post anything like the 95.50 she laid down on her second run.
Sarko Pancochova (Czech Republic), one of the favorites, had a so-so first run but still stood fourth with a 77.75. She didn’t try to improve on the second run, doing a few grabs but no twists or flips. Then she watched Shorr take away her direct qualification spot. Oops.
Norway’s Silje Norendal, first in the current World Snowboard Tour rankings, didn’t post a clean run and will need to go through the semifinals.
The direct qualifiers: Gasser, Anderson, Switzerland’s Elena Koenz, Shorr.
Quote: “It definitely wasn’t how I imagined my Olympic run, my first run in the Olympics, to be. But you just gotta play the cards in your hand and put myself in the best position for Sunday.” – Ty Walker
Torah Bright and Isabel Derungs posted the top scores, while contender Kjersti Buaas had a painful accident.
Date: 6- Feb
Event: Women’s slopestyle qualifying, first heat
How U.S. fared: They’re in the second heat, coming up next.
What happened: Three-event threat Torah Bright (Australia) laid down a conservative first run and was as surprised as anyone else when she got the top score of 85.25. Switzerland’s Isabel Derungs took over that top spot with 87.50 in the second run. Qualifying straight to the final: Derungs, Bright, Canada’s Spencer O’Brien and Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi. Everyone else in the heat must go through the semifinals.
Norway’s Kjersti Buaas, the 2006 halfpipe bronze medalist, had a nasty wipeout in Run 2. She got off-kilter in the air and was in obvious trouble. She landed on her side, thankfully with plenty of time to get her arms out and protect her head. She got up on her own but was limping heavily and needed medical help.
Rukajarvi also took a spill on her second run, bouncing off her board and landing on her back. But she bounced up again and finished on her own power, and her first-run score kept her in the top four.
Other than Buaas, the only other contender to miss out on qualifying directly to the final was Switzerland’s Sina Candrian. The World Championship runner-up had two wobbly runs.
– Slovenia’s Tina Maze is having the best Alpine skiing World Cup season of all time.
– Norway’s Maret Bjoergen had one of the best Nordic World Championships of all time.
– Shaun White was back in action with another U.S. Open title.
– Milers Mary Cain and Will Leer stood out at the USA Indoor track and field championships.
– At the same meet, pole vaulter Jenn Suhr broke five meters and the indoor world record. The only other women’s pole vaulter to clear five meters is Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva. Isinbayeva’s outdoor record: 5.06 meters. Suhr indoors: 5.02.
– Speedskaters Brittany Bowe and Brian Hansen won World Cup races for the first time.
The Storified version has a few more fun features:
Updated Dec. 31; overhauled, really. Other updates Jan. 21 and Feb. 3. And again when Shaun White withdrew from slopestyle Feb. 5.
Not the easiest sport to predict, given that the top halfpipe and slopestyle folks often don’t bother with FIS World Cup events or even World Championships. We have to compare across the X Games and other events. Thankfully, the World Snowboard Tour computes something like that.
The parallel events at least have a bit more info available, though I’ve yet to find any real trends in which some people are better at “special slalom” (do they eat Big Macs before they start?) or giant slalom.
Also considered: Danny Davis (USA), Taylor Gold (USA), Ayumu Hirano (Japan), Taku Hiroaka (Japan), Markus Malin (Finland), Peetu Piiroinen (Finland)
2013 World Championships top 8: Podladtchikov, Hiroaka, Malin, Christian Haller (Switzerland), Ryo Aono (Japan), Scott James (Australia), Nathan Johnstone (Australia), Piiroinen
2013-14 World Cup standings: Bretz, Hiroaka, Gold, Hirano, Janne Korpi (Finland), Johann Baisamy (France), Haller, Ben Ferguson (USA)
2013 X Games Aspen: White, Hirano, Malin, Scotty Lago (USA), Bretz, Louie Vito (USA)
2013 X Games Tignes: Vito, Arthur Longo (France), Hiroaka
World Snowboard Tour points list (Dec. 26): White, Podladtchikov, Hirano, Hiroaka, Bretz, Vito, Gold, Lago
2010 Olympic medalists: White, Piiroinen, Lago
Gold: Kelly Clark (USA) Silver: Torah Bright (Australia) Bronze: Arielle Gold (USA)
Also considered: Queralt Castellet (Spain), Holly Crawford (Australia), Kaitlyn Farrington (USA), Sophie Rodriguez (France), Hannah Teter (USA)
2013 World Championships top 8: Gold, Crawford, Rodriguez, Farrington, Castellet, Li Shuang (China), Mirabelle Thovex (France), Sun Zhifeng (China)
2013-14 World Cup standings: Clark, Li, Bleiler, Cai Xuetong (China), Rebecca Sinclair (New Zealand), Gold, Rodriguez, Clemence Grimal (France)
2013 X Games Aspen: Clark, Hight, Gold, Bright, Teter, Castellet, Farrington
2013 X Games Tignes: Clark, Hight, Gold
World Snowboard Tour points list (Dec. 26): Clark, Bright, Gold, Bleiler, Rodriguez, Hight, Chloe Kim (USA; too young for Olympics), Liu Jiayu (China)
2010 Olympic medalists: Bright, Teter, Clark
SLOPESTYLE (new Olympic event)
Gold: Mark McMorris (Canada) Silver: Staale Sandbech (Norway) Bronze: Max Parrot (Canada)
Also considered: Roope Tonteri (Finland), Sebastien Toutant (Canada). Removed bronze medal pick Torstein Horgmo (Norway), who was injured in practice in Sochi, and silver medal pick Shaun White (USA), who was also mildly injured and dropped out.
2013 World Championships top 8: Tonteri, McMorris, Janne Korpi (Finland), Billy Morgan (Britain), Clemens Schattschneider (Austria), Robby Balharry (Canada), Ryan Stassel (USA), Adrian Krainer (Austria)
2013-14 World Cup standings: Sandbech, Horgmo, White, Emil Andre Ulstetten (Norway), Chas Guldemond (USA), Sven Thorgren (Sweden), Stassel, Brandon Davis (USA)
2013 X Games Aspen: McMorris, Max Parrot (Canada), Seppe Smits (Belgium), Guldemond, White, Peete Piiroinen (Finland)
2013 X Games Tignes: Toutant, McMorris, Piiroinen
World Snowboard Tour points list (Dec. 26): McMorris, Horgmo, Toutant, Sandbech, Parrot, Guldemond, Piiroinen, Thorgren
Also considered: Caroline Calve (Canada), Isabella Laböck (Germany), Amelie Kober (Germany), Marion Kreiner (Austria)
2013 World Championships top 8: Tudegesheva, Kummer, Kober, Engeli, Kreiner, Laböck, Natalia Soboleva (Russia), Takeuchi
2012-13 World Cup standings: Kummer, Kober, Calve, Kreiner, Tudegesheva, Dujmovits, Svetlana Boldykova (Russia), Laböck
Halfpipe and slopestyle
Peetu Piiroinen (Finland): 2010 Oly silver halfpipe. 2013 Worlds eighth halfpipe. 2013 X Games bronze in slopestyle.
Shaun White (USA). Two-time defending champion, six straight X Games Aspen titles … yeah, he’s the favorite in halfpipe. Also has five X Games slopestyle wins.
Greg Bretz (USA): Competed in 2010 Olympics at age 19, finishing 12th. Tied with Hiroaka for early World Cup lead in 2013-14.
Ayumu Hirano (Japan): 2013 X Games runner-up at age 14.
Taku Hiroaka (Japan): Competing in World Cup since 2011, when he was 16. Second in 2013 Worlds. Winner at World Cup stop in Sochi.
Iouri Podladtchikov (Switzerland): World halfpipe champion. Fourth in 2010 Olympics. Landed the first-ever Cab double-cork 1440 at X Games Tignes 2013 (then crashed on his next trick). Nicknamed I-Pod.
Markus Malin (Finland): Hat trick of impressive third-place finishes: 2011 Worlds, 2013, Worlds, 2013 X Games.
Scotty Lago (USA): 2010 Olympic bronze medalist, with a couple of X Games medals as well. Left 2010 Games early after controversial party photos popped up. Did not qualify for Games.
Louie Vito (USA): Fifth in 2010 Olympics. Won a couple of X Games Europe (Tignes) competitions and many Dew Tour and Grand Prix stops. Did not qualify for Games.
Chas Guldemond (USA): Has a World Cup win. Fourth in 2013 X Games.
Max Parrot (Canada): Teen finished second to McMorris at 2013 X Games.
Mark McMorris (Canada): X Games 2012 and 2013 champion (the latter with a record score of 98); 2013 Worlds runner-up. Just turned 20.
Seppe Smits (Belgium): 2011 world champion at age 19. Third in 2013 X Games.
Roope Tonteri (Finland): 2013 world champion in slopestyle and big air.
Alex Pullin (Australia): Two-time defending world champion. Also plays in a reggae band. (No, I couldn’t find any video.) Nicknamed “Chumpy.”
Tony Ramoin (France): 2010 bronze medalist. Ninth at 2013 Worlds.
Markus Schairer (Austria): 2009 world champion. Second in 2013 Worlds.
Pierre Vaultier (France): Three-time World Cup champion (2008, 2010, 2012). Fourth in 2013 Worlds.
Omar Visintin (Italy): Third in 2013 World Cup.
Seth Wescott (USA): Two-time defending Olympic champion. Second at 2011 Worlds. Recovering from multiple injuries suffered in a freeriding accident and in some doubt for Sochi.
Roland Fischnaller (Italy): 2013 Worlds PGS runner-up; also third in PS. Third in 2011 Worlds PGS. Disappointing in three Olympics (best finish: 13th). Five World Cup PS wins.
Benjamin Karl (Austria): 2013 world PGS champion; sixth in PS. Swept world titles in 2011. 2010 PGS silver medalist.
Zan Kosir (Slovenia): Sixth in 2010 Oly PGS. Fourth in 2013 Worlds PGS. Early leader in overall parallel events in 2013-14 World Cup.
Rok Marguc (Austria): 2013 PS world champion, finishing medal collection from 2011 (2nd PGS, 3rd PS).
Andreas Prommegger (Austria): 2012 and 2013 World Cup parallel events champion; no worse than fourth in Cup standings since 2008. 2013 Worlds: 4th PS, 5th PGS. Ninth in 2006 and 2010 Games.
Justin Reiter (USA): 2013 PS Worlds runner-up, a stunning result for the 31-year-old with only one World Cup podium. Prepping for the Games while living in his truck.
Simon Schoch (Switzerland): 2006 silver medalist, losing in the final to his older brother, Philipp. 2011 world PS runner-up. 2007 world PS champion. Two podiums at 2003 Worlds: 2nd PGS, 3rd PS. In 2013: 5th PS, 6th PGS.
Vic Wild (Russia): Third in 2013 Worlds PGS. As you can guess from the name, he grew up in the USA but changed his nationality after marriage. Only one World Cup podium.
Torah Bright (Australia): 2010 Olympic champion and two-time X Games champion in halfpipe. Fourth in Aspen 2013. In slopestyle: third in 2013 World Championships. Possibly competing in halfpipe, slopestyle and snowboardcross? Or boycotting because of safety concerns.
Gretchen Bleiler (USA): 2006 silver medalist. Four-time X Games winner. Did not compete due to injury rehab at 2013 X Games but reached the podium in first two World Cup events of 2013-14. Did not qualify for Games.
Queralt Castellet (Spain): Frequent X Games invitee. Injured in 2010 Olympics after good qualifying runs. Fifth in 2013 Worlds.
Kelly Clark (USA): 2002 gold medalist also has 2010 bronze and the last three X Games Aspen wins.
Holly Crawford (Australia): 2011 world champion; runner-up in 2009 and 2013. Eighth in 2010 Olympics.
Arielle Gold (USA): World champion at age 16. Third in 2013 X Games.
Elena Hight (USA): Two-time Olympian is still in early 20s. X Games runner-up 2012 and 2013. Did not qualify for Games.
Sophie Rodriguez (France): Fifth in 2010 Olympics. Third in 2013 Worlds.
Hannah Teter (USA): 2006 gold medalist, 2010 silver medalist. Third in 2012 X Games; fifth in 2013. Active in humanitarian work.
Jamie Anderson (USA): Four-time X Games winner; seven X Games podiums in eight years. Solid favorite.
Sina Candrian (Switzerland): 2013 Worlds runner-up. Fifth at 2013 X Games.
Spencer O’Brien (Canada): World champion. Third at 2013 X Games, her third X Games poidum.
Sarko Pancochova (Czech Republic): 2013 X Games runner-up; 2011 Worlds runner-up. Competed in 2010 Olympic halfpipe.
Enni Rukajarvi (Finland): 2011 world and X Games champion. 2012 X Games runner-up; fourth in 2013.
Ty Walker (USA): Fifth in 2013 Worlds at age 15.
Lindsey Jacobellis (USA): Three-time world champion (2005, 2007, 2011); seven-time X Games champion. 2006 silver medalist. Yes, she fell on the board grab, blah blah blah. Still the sport’s all-time best, winning 26 of the 48 World Cup events in her career through December, when she capped her comeback from a knee injury with yet another win.
Dominique Maltais (Canada): 2012 X Games winner, 2013 Worlds runner-up. 2006 bronze medalist. Four-time World Cup champion, including 2011-2013.
Helene Olafsen (Norway): Fourth in 2010 Olympics. 2009 world champion. Third in first two races of 2013-14.
Maelle Ricker (Canada): Defending Olympic and world champion. Also took a couple of X Games wins when the X Games still considered snowboardcross (or “Snowboarder X”) worthwhile.
Eva Samkova (Czech Republic): 2013 world junior champion has a couple of World Cup wins as well, including one in December 2013.
Chloe Trespeuch (France): 2013 world junior runner-up; fourth in 2013 World Championships.
Caroline Calve (Canada): Getting better in her mid-30s. First World Cup win was in 2011; third was in December 2013.
Julia Dujmovits (Austria): 2013 Worlds PGS runner-up; 10th in PS. Two World Cup wins; 11 podiums (through December 2013).
Hilde-Katrine Engeli (Norway): Fourth in both 2013 Worlds events. 2011 PS world champion. Got first World Cup win in March 2013.
Ekaterina Ilyukhina (Russia): 2010 Oly PGS silver medalist. World Championship best: 11th. World Cup best: 3rd.
Isabella Laböck (Germany): 2013 world PGS champion; sixth in PS. Five World Cup podiums. Police officer spurred on by memory of her late brother.
Amelie Kober (Germany): 2006 Oly PGS silver medalist. 2010 Oly PGS quarterfinalist while pregnant. Third in 2013 Worlds in both parallel events. Twelve World Cup wins, seven in PGS.
Marion Kreiner (Austria): 2010 Oly PGS bronze medalist. 2009 world PGS champion. 2007 world PS runner-up. Also works as a graphic designer.
Patrizia Kummer (Switzerland): 2013 Worlds PS runner-up. Third in 2009 Worlds PGS. Eight World Cup wins. 2012 and 2013 World Cup overall parallel events champion; early leader in 2014.
Nicolien Sauerbreij (Netherlands): 2010 Oly PGS gold medalist. 2011 world PS runner-up. Three-time Olympian — flag-bearer for Netherlands in 2002 opening ceremony.
Ekaterina Tudegesheva (Russia): 2013 world PS champion. 2007 world PGS champion. Fifth in 2006 Oly PGS; 10th in 2010. World Cup parallel events champion in 2011.
Quick peek at the calendar shows us a couple of items to consider for 2014 medal projections:
12-27: Handball, Men’s World Championships
14-27: Tennis, Australian Open 18-27: Snowboarding, World Championships
19-Feb. 10: Soccer, African Cup of Nations
20-27: Figure skating, U.S. Championships
24: Bellator: Askren vs. Amoussou (welterweight title) 24-27: Winter X Games Aspen 25-Feb. 2 Bobsled/skeleton, World Championships
A few details:
SNOWBOARDING (worlds and X)
Reminder of the ever-expanding Olympic snowboarding program: halfpipe, snowboardcross, parallel giant slalom, slopestyle (new) and … parallel slalom (also new)?
The World Championships, underway in Stoneham, Quebec, have all those events, plus big air. The only problem is that a lot of top riders, especially Americans, have skipped the World Championships to prep for the X Games in Aspen, which will be heavily televised.
In slopestyle, the new world champs and runners-up in men’s and women’s slopestyle will make the trip — Roope Tonteri (FIN), Mark McMorris (CAN), Spencer O’Brien (CAN), Sina Candrian (SUI). Just a guess: Shaun White will get a bit more attention.
The men’s halfpipe has the top five from Worlds — Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI), Taku Hiraoka (JPN), Markus Malin (FIN), Christian Haller (SUI), Ryo Aono (JPN). But again, we’ll guess Shaun White will get the attention. And Louie Vito and Scotty Lago.
The women’s halfpipe (or SuperPipe, as they call it) features the big names: Kelly Clark, Elena Hight, Gretchen Bleiler, Hannah Teter and Aussie Torah Bright, who finished third in slopestyle at Worlds. The fourth- and fifth-place halfpipers in Quebec — USA’s Kaitlyn Farrington, Spain’s Queralt Castellet — will go to Aspen, while 16-year-old world champ Arielle Gold is an alternate. As Lane Myer said when he heard Ricky and Monique were speaking “the international language of love,” that makes sense.
But Aspen won’t have the races. The World Championships have snowboardcross, parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom all to themselves. Two-time Olympic snowboardcross champion Seth Wescott is on the U.S. team along with 45-year-old Lynn Ott. Multiple-time world champion Lindsey Jacobellis is recovering from an ACL injury suffered in last year’s X Games.
The other Oly-related events to watch in Aspen: freestyle skiing’s skicross, slopestyle and half/superpipe. Yes, they’re adding a lot of the X events in Sochi.
Actually just bobsled this week, the Zweierbob Frauen and Zweierbob Manner. There is a Team Wettkampf on Sonntag, so maybe I should translate the official site or check the FIBT site for a full preview and timetable — ah, that’s the bobsled/skeleton team event.
Switzerland’s Beat Hefti is the favorite on home ice, particularly here at St. Moritz, the only natural ice track in the world. Some of its idiosyncrasies are in this fun video, where you can see how it’s carved out of the snow instead of built up like other bobsled runs:
Defending champion Steven Holcomb had a great start to the two-man season but has dropped off considerably over the last two months. The U.S. women have bounced on and off the podium — Elana Meyers is third in the World Cup, Jamie Greubel fifth and Jazmine Fenlator eighth.
The USA also is the defending team champion.
Lolo Jones? Nope, not on the U.S. team for this one. She has done pretty well in her races and kept her sense of humor after a crash:
What did you miss while you were making Facebook photos superimposing Ted Lange’s face on a hurricane tracking map? Read on.
– Basketball: The U.S. Under-17 women didn’t have much trouble with anyone at the World Championships. The 3-on-3 tournament was a little tougher. Literally. After beating France in the final 17-16, Chiney Ogwumike had this to say:
In the end, it’s better to be physical than to play like girls.