With all of the Olympic qualifiers on U.S. snow finished for the season, there is still some mystery around who will be representing the United States next month in Beijing. With a good amount of spots officially named, there seems to be a handful left that will be decided this week and with results from LAAX.
MEN’S HALFPIPE: TAYLOR GOLD (Three spots left)
WILL SHAUN WHITE MAKE THE TEAM? The burning question everyone is asking. If we had to put money down, our bet would be yes. Rumors have him in the fourth spot alongside Gold, Chase Josey, and Lucas Foster. But Joey Okensen has to be close and probably the reason why nothing was announced last week in Mammoth. Toby Miller is also in the hunt. According to the World Cup rankings, Lucas is the highest ranking American, followed by Shaun, Taylor, Chase, and Joey (with Toby not far off). But Taylor Gold had the podium at Dew Tour which is what probably locked him in for a bid and by our understanding, they can either qualify by FIS ranking/points or a podium at a qualifying event. This one seems to be coming down to LAAX and maybe who can avoid injury/covid. But who is going to deny Shaun one more attempt at gold after he already announced that this was his farewell tour? We are kind of thinking that one will be a lock. Will he podium in Beijing? That is the bigger question. Japan’s Ayumu Hirano and Yuto Totsuka, alongside Australia’s Scotty James and a very competitive field including Jan Scherrer, Taylor Gold, and more will be standing in his way.
WOMEN’S HALFPIPE – Chloe Kim, Maddie Mastro (two spots left)
No surprises here. Chloe and Maddie will be heavy favorites to podium against a strong international field that has been showing up and grabbing medals all season. With potentially two more spots to fill out on the U.S. team, will Zoe Kalapos make the cut? Kelly Berger and Summer Fenton are ranked 20th and 21st respectively on the FIS world cup stage. Sonny Alba announced an upcoming surgery so she will not be making the flight. We have no idea and we haven’t asked yet. Will the U.S. just use three spots or send all four? We will get some answers soon.
MEN’S SLOPESTYLE – Red Gerard, Chris Corning, Dusty Henricksen (one spot left)
Judd Henkes, Brock Crouch, Luke Winkelmann, Sean Fitzsimons , and Kyle Mack will all be battling for the last spot this week in LAAX. No idea who is going to snag it or how many points they would have to get to actually do it. Luke is currently sitting behind Red in FIS points after landing on the podium two weeks ago in Calgary, but Brock, Judd, Sean and Kyle are all still mathematically in the hunt depending on things shake out and who lands where and how the coaches decide to handle it.
WOMEN’S SLOPESTYLE – Jamie Anderson, Hailey Langland (two spots left)
Jamie and Hailey already have their uniforms while the rest of the field will be decided by the end of the week. Julia Marino was on the Olympic team back in 2018 but will need a strong finish to claim the spot again heading to Beijing. Well within her reach, it looks like she will be competing against Ty Schnorrbusch, Jade Thurgood, and Courtney Rummel for the final two spots. The women’s slopestyle contest will be one to watch at the 2022 Winter Games. The international field will be stacked and after a tough weather situation plaguing the contest back in 2018, a lot of them are ready to show out on the Olympic stage.