The big (though not at all surprising) news from Mammoth Mountain this week: Snowboarders Shaun White and Kelly Clark have each earned enough points on the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix to claim their spots on the U.S. team for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver next month.
White, the 2006 Olympic gold medalist, won the second of two events this week at Mammoth yesterday (he took 2nd, behind Danny Davis, earlier in the week) and won the first event of the season last month at Copper Mountain, giving him enough combined points to guarantee a spot on the 2010 team. In his victory lap, he nearly landed a double cork 1260: With the tricks like that, he may have another Olympic gold medal locked down, too. The rest of the men's team positions will be determined January 20-23 at Park City Mountain, Utah.
Watch for a handful of Colorado locals fighting it out for the remaining three spots on the men's team: JJ Thomas, a Breckenridge team rider from Golden finished third yesterday, behind White and Louie Vito (another favorite to make the Olympic cut).
Two other Breckenridge team riders made Finals yesterday: Zach Black finished in 5th place, and Steve Fisher finished in 6th place. Full Finals results from yesterday's competition via Live-Timing.com.
Gretchen Bleiler, another rider with local roots (Aspen) moved one step closer to securing her spot on the Olympic team this week, beating out Elena Hight, Hannah Teter, and Kelly Clark to win the women's halfpipe event yesterday (Clark secured her position on the team with a win earlier this week, also at Mammoth). And Clair Bidez, a young rider from Minturn, who rides for Copper Mountain, finished in 7th place in yesterday's Finals. Full Finals results from yesterday's competition via Live-Timing.com.
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NBC is airing its coverage from the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain today at 11:30am.