White, Clark win final Grand Prix in Park City
PARK CITY, Utah – Scotty Lago (Seabrook, N.H.) rode his way onto his first Olympic Team with a huge first run Saturday night at Park City Mountain Resort, putting down a score of 48.00 to win the spot. Shaun White (Carlsbad) delighted fans with a Vancouver-ready 49.50 and earned his second victory in two nights, while Kelly Clark of Mount Snow, Vt., matched that feat in the women’s event.
One day after scoring a 49.00 and landing the first-ever competition double McTwist 12, White was rewarded with a Grand Prix record 49.50 for stomping the same run and used his victory lap to high five spectators in watching in the light snow alongside the 22-foot megapipe at the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix.
“For me tonight to put that run together was unreal,” White said. “It felt great.
“I wanted to push the judges to boundaries that they can go to. I know they haven’t handed out a full-on perfect score yet. I’ll get them.”
South Lake Tahoe’s Elena Hight finished fifth — her fourth straight Grand Prix event of placing fifth or better.
With pressure of Olympic qualification thick in the air, Lago gave the gold medalist a run for his money for a second straight competition.
“I’m still in shock right now,” Lago said. “Obviously, it’s been a huge goal of mine for the last couple seasons to make the team, and to realize that I just did it, so many things are going through my head.”
The top three men and women from the Grand Prix, based on average of two best results, get a spot on the fourth-ever Olympic Team which will be formally named on Monday.
White led the men’s standings, followed by Lago and Louie Vito (Sandy, Utah). Clark, the 2002 gold medalist, took the women’s title, followed by Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, Colo.) and 2006 gold medalist Hannah Teter (South Lake Tahoe), who was second twice in Park City and plans to donate all of her earnings to charity.
The six were announced to the crowd at a concert following the Grand Prix finale, where “I Ride For Pearce” stickers were abundant in honor of Kevin Pearce (Norwich, Vt.), still recovering in a Salt Lake City hopsital from a severe head injury sustained in training three weeks ago.
“It was a hard-fought battle, obviously, getting on this team, but I feel like the best of the best are sitting right here, and we’re going to go into Vancouver with the strongest team ever,” said U.S. Snowboarding halfpipe head coach Mike Jankowski.
Like White, fellow Grand Prix points leader Clark did enough in her first run to take a pressure-free final jaunt. She went front-side air, back-side 5, front-side 9, backside 5 and front-side 7 to cab 7.
“Everything heading into this event was practicing for the Olympics,” Clark said. “Getting to do the most difficult run in a contest setting is the best way to get ready for Vancouver.”
The team will travel to Aspen for X Games events before going to Vancouver. The full 2010 Olympic Snowboarding Team will be announced Monday.
2010 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix
At Park City, Utah
Jan. 23 Halfpipe Results
1. Shaun White, Carlsbad, 49.50
2. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 48.00
3. Luke Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, 45.30
4. Gregory Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, 44.80
5. JJ Thomas, Golden, Colo., 44.20
6. Jack Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, 42.30
7. Dylan Bidez, Minturn, Colo., 41.30
8. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, Colo., 40.60
9. Zack Black, Breckenridge, Colo., 38.50
10. Broc Waring, Edwards, Colo., 38.20
1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, Vt., 47.40
2. Hannah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, 43.90
3. Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, Idaho, 41.00
4. Maddy Schaffrick, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 36.50
5. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, 36.20
6. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, Vt., 25.40
7. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, Colo., 15.50
8. Kelly Marren, Hillsborough, 12.60
DNS – Clair Bidez, Minturn, Colo.
Final Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix Standings
Average of best two results (ties broken)
1. Shaun White, Carlsbad, Calif., 1000
2. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 800
3. Louie Vito, Sandy, Utah, 800
4. Danny Davis, Truckee, 645
5. Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, 550
6. JJ Thomas, Golden, Colo, 550
7. Luke Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, 550
8. Zack Black, Breckenridge, Colo., 525
9. Elijah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, 475
10. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, Colo., 400
1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, Vt., 1000
2. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, Colo., 900
3. Hannah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, 800
4. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, 650
5. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, Vt., 600
6. Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, Idaho, 500
7. Maddy Schaffrick, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 500
8. Clair Bidez, Minturn, Colo., 425
9. Kelly Marren, Hillsborough, Calif., 320