U.S. Olympic Team Finalized

Three quarters of the red, white, and blue’s halfpipe team was finalized this weekend following some insane action including Shaun White’s new double McTwist 12, under the lights at Park City’s halfpipe for the final two stops of the Grand Prix. Shaun White, Scotty Lago, and Louie Vito will be representing in Vancouver for the men and Kelly Clark, Gretchen Bleiler, and Hannah Teter will be throwing down for the women. The fourth spots for the men and the women came down to a decision by the US Snowboarding Team coaches who announced late yesterday that Greg Bretz and Elena Hight would also be heading to Vancouver.

Here’s the full roster:

2010 U.S. OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDING TEAM

(name, hometown, age as of opening ceremonies, birthdate, (past Olympics))

Halfpipe Men

Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 19, 12/19/1990

Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 22, 11/12/1987

Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 21, 3/20/1988

Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 23, 9/3/1986 (2006)

Halfpipe Women

Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 28, 04/10/1981 (2006)

Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 26, 07/26/1983 (2002, 2006)

Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 20, 08/17/1989 (2006)

Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 23, 01/27/1987 (2006)

SBX Men

Nick Baumgartner, Iron River, MI, 28, 12/17/1981

Nate Holland, Squaw Valley, CA, 31, 11/8/1978 (2006)

Graham Watanabe, Sun Valley, ID, 27, 03/19/1982 (2006)

Seth Wescott, Sugarloaf, ME, 33, 06/28/1976 (2006)

SBX Women

Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, Girdwood, AK, 24, 04/17/1985

Faye Gulini, Salt Lake City, 17, 03/24/1992

Lindsey Jacobellis, Stratton Mountain, VT, 24, 08/19/1985 (2006)

PGS Men

Tyler Jewell, Steamboat Springs, CO, 32, 02/21/1977 (2006)

Chris Klug, Aspen, CO, 37, 11/18/1972 (1998, 2002)

PGS Women

Michelle Gorgone, Boston, 26, 10/18/1983 (2006)

Check out the photos of Saturday’s action:

Here are the details of the decision:

PARK CITY, UT (Jan. 25) – Olympic gold medalists Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA), Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT), Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT), and Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME) each highlight a talent-filled roster as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced the 2010 Olympic Snowboarding Team Monday.

USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt, together with the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team partner Visa, announced the roster of 18 athletes to compete in the snowboard events at Cypress Mountain in Vancouver.

“We are going in to the 2010 Games with one of the strongest athletic lineups possible,” U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley said. “We’re hoping to go into Vancouver and build on the successes we saw in 2006. This Team is in position to do great things.”

After winning four of five events at the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, White, who took the gold medal in 2006, has kept his stronghold on winning halfpipe events and will be a favorite in Vancouver.

“Shaun is truly an amazing competitor. After winning in 2006 he has been non-stop and has played a huge role in the progression halfpipe has seen in these past four years,” U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski said.

Joining White is a lineup of talented riders with unique style, including Louie Vito (Sandy, UT), who has back to back double corks in his repertoire and Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) who reaches mesmerizing heights with each hit in the pipe. Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, CA) who has the coveted double cork in his bag as well, completes the men’s roster.

Danny Davis (Detroit, MI) would have qualified for the Olympic team with a fourth in the Grand Prix standings, but suffered an injury earlier this month that will keep him out of competition.

On the women’s side of things, the Olympic Team will be comprised of the same talent it featured in 2006.

Clark also won four of the five Grand Prix stops to make the team, and has been using her time to lock down new tricks that she plans to add to her run as she looks for success in Vancouver.

Filling out the women’s roster, Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO), Teter, and 2006 Olympian Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, CA) all bring the Olympic experience and heavy-hitting tricks to make the grade at Cypress Mountain.

Defending snowboardcross champ Wescott fills out one of the most talented SBX men’s teams making its way to Vancouver.

“It was a huge battle to make this men’s SBX team. Six different U.S. riders have already been on the World Cup podium this season, and only four of them make the Olympic Team,” Foley said. “Vancouver is going to be an incredible fight for the podium, and our guys are ready for it.”

Five-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA) is gunning for success after an unfortunate fall in the 2006 Games. After getting a surprise shot at being an Olympian in 2006, Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley, ID) is prepared for 2010, toting World Cup wins and an X Games silver medal on his way in. And, joining the seasoned Olympians is World Championship bronze medalist Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI).

In the women’s SBX field, Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT), who earned silver in 2006, has taken win after win in the four years leading up to the 2010 Games and looks strong going in to Vancouver.

Joining Jacobellis are Olympic newcomers and solid contenders Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City) and Callan Chythlook-Sifsof (Girdwood, AK).

Finalizing the Olympic Snowboarding Team are the alpine racers, who are led by 2006 Olympian Tyler Jewell (Steamboat Springs, CO), who came out on top of the team selection process.

Two-time Olympian and 2002 bronze medalist Chris Klug (Aspen, CO) joins Jewell for the men. He notched two top-eight results on the World Cup this season to grab his third team spot and was on the original Olympic Team in 1998 for the sport’s debut. Michelle Gorgone (Boston), who also competed in 2006, will represent the U.S. for the women.

“Klug's hard work and perseverance have really paid off,” Foley said. “What an amazing accomplishment it is for him to make the Olympic teams in 98, and 2002, then miss the team in 2006, and now comeback and make the team again in 2010.”

Snowboarding kicks off with the men’s SBX on Feb. 15.

The Team is subject to final review by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Here’s the breakdown of the action from Park City this weekend:

Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) 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, CA) delighted fans with a Vancouver-ready 49.50 and earning his second victory in two nights, while Kelly Clark (Mt. 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.”

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, UT). Clark, the 2002 gold medalist, took the women’s title, followed by Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) and 2006 gold medalist Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT), 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.”

Fans can watch the Saturday’s finals Sunday on NBC Sports at 3:00 p.m. ET.

The team will travel to Aspen for X Games events before going to Vancouver. The full 2010 Olympic Snowboarding Team will be announced Monday.

OFFICIAL RESULTS

2010 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix

Park City, UT – Jan. 23, 2010

Halfpipe

Men

1. Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 49.50

2. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 48.00

3. Luke Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 45.30

4. Gregory Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 44.80

5. JJ Thomas, Golden, CO, 44.20

6. Jack Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 42.30

7. Dylan Bidez, Minturn, CO, 41.30

8. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, CO, 40.60

9. Zack Black, Breckenridge, CO, 38.50

10. Broc Waring, Edwards, CO, 38.20

Women

1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 47.40

2. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 43.90

3. Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, ID, 41.00

4. Maddy Schaffrick, Steamboat Springs, CO, 36.50

5. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 36.20

6. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT, 25.40

7. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 15.50

8. Kelly Marren, Hillsborough, CA, 12.60

DNS – Clair Bidez, Minturn, CO

Final Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix Standings

Average of best two results (ties broken)

Men

1. Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 1000

2. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 800

3. Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 800

4. Danny Davis, Detroit, MI, 645

5. Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 550

6. JJ Thomas, Golden, CO, 550

7. Luke Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 550

8. Zack Black, Breckenridge, CO, 525

9. Elijah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 475

10. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, CO, 400

Women

1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 1000

2. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 900

3. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 800

4. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 650

5. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT, 600

6. Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, ID, 500

7. Maddy Schaffrick, Steamboat Springs, CO, 500

8. Clair Bidez, Minturn, CO, 425

9. Kelly Marren, Hillsborough, CA, 320