Arielle Gold Highlights Final Team USA Qualifiers In Halfpipe, Slopestyle/Big Air Snowboarding

By Chrös McDougall | Jan. 23, 2018, 8:08 p.m. (ET)


Arielle Gold has earned another shot at gold.

Four years after qualifying for the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 in women’s halfpipe snowboarding only to have to withdraw due to injury, the 21-year-old from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was one of four discretional picks named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team in halfpipe and slopetyle/big air snowboarding.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced Gold, Jessika Jenson (women’s slopestyle/big air), Chase Josey (men’s halfpipe) and Ryan Stassel (men’s slopestyle/big air) to Team USA on Tuesday. They join three other Americans in each discipline who qualified based on their performances at a series of qualifying events over the past year.

Four years ago, Gold was one of the top up-and-coming women’s halfpipe snowboarders and came into Sochi as the defending world champion. However, she injured her shoulder during a pre-Olympic practice and had to withdraw.

Gold, who won silver medals in both halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, has since re-established herself as a contender, including winning a silver medal at the 2016 Winter X Games and landing on the podium at one of this season’s qualifying events. She joins Chloe Kim, Maddie Mastro and three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark on the U.S. women’s halfpipe team. Both Kim and Mastro will be making their Olympic debuts in PyeongChang.

On the men’s side, the 22-year-old Josey joins Ben Ferguson, Jakes Pates and two-time Olympic champion Shaun White on Team USA. Josey stole the show at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix this past weekend in California, nabbing his first grand prix win ever in the final Olympic qualifying event. The Hailey, Idaho, native has three career world cup podiums, one in each position. He’ll be making his Olympic debut along with Ferguson and Pates.

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Team USA has historically dominated the halfpipe snowboarding events, having won 16 medals — eight for both the women and men — since the sport’s Olympic debut in 1998. Kaitlyn Farrington won the gold medal in Sochi, while Clark took bronze, to continue a streak of podium finishes in each Games for the U.S. women. The U.S. men were held off the podium for the first time in Sochi.

In slopestyle, Stassel, 25, from Anchorage, Alaska, is a 2014 Olympian, having finished 14th in Sochi. Since then he’s won the 2015 world title in slopestyle, and he’s claimed three podium finishes in big air, an event that makes its Olympic debut in PyeongChang. Stasel joins Olympic rookies Red Gerard, Chris Corning and Kyle Mack on the U.S. men’s slopestyle and big air team.

For the women, the 26-year-old Jenson will also be going to her second Winter Games in slopestyle. The Idaho Falls, Idaho, native finished 13th in Sochi, and so far this season has a top-10 world cup finish in both slopestyle and big air.

She joins defending Olympic champion Jamie Anderson on Team USA, as well as Olympic debutants Hailey Langland and Julia Marino.

Slopestyle made its Olympic debut in Sochi, with Americans taking both gold medals. Sage Kotsenburg, the surprise winner in the men’s event, elected not to compete this season.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.