Since halfpipe and snowboardcross were added to the Olympic program in 1998 and 2006, U.S. athletes have continued to leave their indelible mark on snowboarding, while helping elevate the sport to new heights. Most notably is halfpipe star Shaun White, who has become a household name. While White may be most the most notable snowboarder, there are several other athletes within slopestyle snowboarding that make up the fabric of Team USA.
Working his way up the ladder, Chas Guldemond has captured two X Games medals, three U.S. Grand Prix wins and a World Snowboarding Tour slopestyle championship title. Also of note is Eric Willett, who earned the silver medal in his X Games debut – his first of three X Games medals in just two years. Also, Jamie Anderson has been a consistent force in women’s slopestyle snowboarding with seven X Games medals to her credit.
Olympic golden girl Kelly Clark recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of her first Olympic gold medal and is still a driving force in women’s halfpipe. Her signature amplitude and precision is how Clark makes sure she is evolving the sport. Last season, Clark garnered 16 consecutive wins before her streak was snapped by Elena Hight at the U.S. Open. Since then, Hight has given Clark a bit of pressure, taking wins at the U.S. Grand Prix last season. Also making a splash is Gretchen Bleiler, who has claimed five X Games medals.
Snowboardcross has seen a U.S. turnaround, with podium finishes from Seth Wescott, Jonathan Cheever and Nick Baumgartner. On the women’s side, Lindsey Jacobellis suffered a knee injury early in the 2012 season that ended her World Cup winning streak at three. Coming up from the NorAm circuit is Jackie Hernandez. She won nearly every NorAm event she entered and took an impressive win at the 2012 FIS World Cup Final.
There are eight snowboarding events on the program for the Sochi Games, including men’s and women’s halfpipe, men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom, men’s and women’s parallel slalom, and men’s and women’s snowboardcross.
The U.S. can receive up to 24 quota spots in snowboarding for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which can include a max of 14 athletes of either gender and up to four competitors per event. Athletes qualify a spot for the U.S. with one top-30 finish at a FIS World Cup or world championships event between July 1, 2012 and Jan. 19, 2014. Additionally, athletes need to earn a minimum of 100 FIS points in halfpipe snowboarding, 50 FIS points in slopestyle snowboarding and 80 FIS points for snowboardcross in their respective event.
The Olympic selection criteria will be approved in May 2013. The 2013-14 U.S. Grand Prix will be the Olympic qualification events for halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding.
|Feb. 10-17||FIS World Cup/Sochi Test Event||Sochi, Russia|
|Feb. 23||FIS Snowboarding World Cup||Moscow, Russia|
|March 8-10||FIS Snowboarding World Cup||Arosa, Switzerland|
|March 15-16||FIS Snowboarding World Cup||Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic|
|March 15-17||FIS Snowboarding World Cup||Veysonnaz, Switzerland|
|March 16||FIS Snowboarding World Cup||La Molina, Spain|
|March 20-27||FIS Snowboarding World Cup||Sierra Nevada, Spain|
|Dec. 9-15||U.S. Grand Prix||Copper Mountain, Colo.|
|Jan. 17-19||U.S. Grand Prix||Park City, Utah|
|Jan. 17-27||FIS World Snowboarding Championships||Stoneham, Quebec|