South Lake’s Smaine doesn’t make U.S. freeski team for Olympics
Tickets to Pyeongchang for the 2018 Winter Olympics have been punched for Team USA’s, freestyle, freeski, and snowboard teams and South Lake Tahoe’s Kyle Smaine was not included, despite winning the last qualifier.
Smaine, 26, put his name into contention to make the team after winning the final men’s ski halfpipe competition at the U.S. Snowboard & Freeski Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort on Friday Jan. 19. Unfortunately, Smaine, who has the fifth most points for an American in the International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup standings, was not among the four skiers chosen to represent the US next month.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced the freeski team members earlier in the week, and it includes athletes with local ties that will be headed to South Korea for next month’s games.
The reigning freestyle skiing halfpipe Olympic champions, Maddie Bowman, of South Lake Tahoe, and David Wise, of Reno will return to the Olympics to defend their gold medals. Both skiers qualified for the games back on Jan. 12 after competing at the U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen-Snowmass.
“The selection process was challenging for the athletes, but it resulted in a truly remarkable team of athletes ready to challenge for Olympic medals,” said Freeski Program Director Jeremy Foster in a statement. “Our selection event resorts, including Mammoth Mountain, Aspen-Snowmass, Copper Mountain and Breckenridge, did a great job in providing world-class venues. This is a veteran team that knows how to win, with a great mix of youth.”