The 2014 U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team
U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team
Thirteen of the potential 16 spots on the U.S. Olympic snowboard slopestyle and halfpipe teams have been decided, based on the results from the five-event qualifier series that just wrapped up in Mammoth Calif., this weekend. Whether or not a fourth slot on the men's slopestyle team, and a third and fourth spot on the women's slopestyle team will be allocated from the overall number of quota spots allotted to snowboarding -- and who will fill those spots if they do open up -- will be decided this week. In the meantime, meet the snowboarders who are definitely headed to Sochi after the X Games.
Shaun White, Slopestyle & Halfpipe
After taking the nastiest fall of the contest in Thursday's first slopestyle event, Shaun White showed us again just how serious a competitor he is by getting back up and qualifying for both the halfpipe and slopestyle teams. "This has been the craziest journey to get here, from doing slope and pipe and just the process I go through every single time," says White. "When it's on, it's on. I don't try to force it. It's a strange thing, but getting down to the wire has helped me improve greatly because I'm feeling the excitement."
Danny Davis, Halfpipe
Danny Davis was on his way to Vancouver in 2010 before an ATV accident took him out of running. He landed the final spot on the 2014 Olympic team in the final qualifying event in Mammoth, impressing snowboard purists with incredible switch-stance tricks and a run no one else is doing, or has ever done, in a halfpipe. "I'm snowboarding to get better at snowboarding," said Davis. "I'm not snowboarding to go to the Olympics this year." Like it or not Davis, you're going.
Kelly Clark, Halfpipe
Kelly Clark is headed to her fourth Olympics with more wins under her belt than anyone in the history of competitive snowboarding. Looking for her third Olympic gold Clark said, "For me [the qualifying event series was] all practice, so it was great for me to come out and put down some technical runs. I want to be able to put down the most difficult runs that I can, so that by the time I get to Sochi perhaps they're not as difficult for me anymore."
Sage Kotsenburg, Slopestyle
Sage Kotsenburg has a flair for pulling grab variations in his tricks that most snowboarders haven't seen since the sport was invented. Because of this, he is one of the most entertaining riders to watch come down a slopestyle course. "At Sochi I'm going to have fun," said Kotsenburg. "I want to enjoy going to the Olympics because not everyone gets to go. I'm obviously going to try my best and do it for the USA, but mostly I'm just going to have fun."
Taylor Gold, Halfpipe
Twenty-year-old Colorado native Taylor Gold came seemingly out of nowhere this year, nabbing podium spots in four of the five qualifying events. His impressive bag of tricks and air time lead to him becoming the first person to nab a spot on the men's halfpipe team.
Arielle Gold, Halfpipe
High school junior Arielle Gold will be joining her brother Talyor on the trip to Sochi in February. With an explosive style and impressive consistency, Gold will be one of the top women in the pipe to watch for years to come.
Greg Bretz, Halfpipe
Mammoth Lakes, Calif., local Greg Bretz capped off a stellar qualifying series on his home turf by refining a run that has been getting him on the podium all season. "I'm just really stoked I was able to pull it through," said Bretz. "It's one thing to make the team but another to be named in your hometown."
Ty Walker, Slopestyle
The next generation of women's slopestyle has arrived in the form of 16-year-old Ty Walker. "I'm really happy that I stuck with the plan," said Walker. "I stayed the course and was able to put down [some good runs.]"
Jaime Anderson, Slopestyle
Jamie Anderson wins just about every slopestyle contest she enters, so it's no surprise that she won almost every qualifying event and is headed to Sochi as a favorite to win gold in the event's Olympic debut.
Chas Guldemond, Slopestyle
Chas Guldemond, or "Chuck G" as his friends call him, earned a ticket to Sochi with not only the technical mastery of more than a couple variations of double corks but as one of the few competitors to spin with an original style.
Kaitlyn Farrington, Halfpipe
Sun Valley, Idaho's Kaitlyn Farrington impressed the judges enough over the course of the jam-packed marathon of qualifiers in Mammoth to earn a trip to her first Olympics. "The process has been so hectic with three events here in Mammoth," said Farrington. "For it to be over, and to know I made the team ... I'm so happy."
Hannah Teter, Halfpipe
annah Teter may be a former Olympic medalist, but her spot on the 2014 team came down to the wire. A decision by the selection committee for the discretionary (meaning: not points based) to give her the fourth team slot was made in the final hours, after the conclusion of the five qualifying events in Mammoth, Calif., on Sunday. "I definitely felt the heat but sometimes that makes me get in the zone when I know I've got to do it, like it's all or nothing," said the Vermont native of her winning performance on Sunday. "So, it pushed me to the be in the spotlight ... and I like the spotlight.