White, Clark Win Qualifiers… Again
Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) and Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT) aren’t totally perfect… but they’re pushing the boundary as each continued to dominate the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix. The two finished first in qualifications at Mammoth Mountain on Friday while Wednesday’s winner Danny Davis (Detroit, MI) also won his qualifying heat.
In sunny California winter weather, athlete after athlete continued to ride the wave of progression from Wednesday’s halfpipe finals with all going bigger and trying harder to stake their claim on the chance at an Olympic spot as time ticks down.
Already nailing her athlete credential for the Games, Clark used the competition time to put miles on some tricks she’s been keeping on the side.
“There’s no better practice to do runs than in a contest setting. I have the luxury and the opportunity to do that now,” Clark said. “The best practice is to do difficult and new runs in events so they feel more normal. Basically the hard runs become easier so when I get to the Olympics, my hardest runs now will be my easiest.”
Fellow Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT) followed Clark in second, and Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) completed the trifecta of talent in third.
In her run Clark threw out some moves rarely, if ever seen before in her repertoire, all of which she said where fun.
“I’ve been doing this for so long that I have my plan and routine. Everything is mapped out with how to qualify. To have the luxury to switch it up and focus on the progression is huge,” Clark said.
In the men’s halfpipe Davis and White competed in different heats with White taking the top. All eyes are going to be on the men’s halfpipe on Saturday as the crowd looks for what is poised to be “showdown part two” in the battle between the two greats after Davis ousted White from the throne on Wednesday.
And then there was young gun Dylan Bidez (Minturn, CO) took his riding to the next level, finishing third.
“I went into there just hoping to make finals and ending up third is a bonus,” Bidez said. “It was probably my amplitude because I don’t have a double in my bag of tricks. Just going big is what got me the third.”
As for what lies ahead for the rookie, Bidez wants to up the ante.
“This makes me feel more confident going in to tomorrow. I’m going to change my run up a little bit and add some more difficulty to it, so that hopefully I can keep that top three position,” Bidez said.
The Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix finals are Saturday at 11:00 a.m. PT. It will be the third of five Olympic qualification events for halfpipe. To see the scores live, visit live-timing.com.
2010 Sprint U.S. SNOWBOARDING GRAND PRIX
Mammoth Mountain, CA – Jan. 8, 2010
1. Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 45.80
2. Danny Davis, Detroit, MI, 45.20
3. Dylan Bidez, Minturn, CO, 43.10
4. JJ Thomas, Golden, CO, 41.40
5. Elijah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 41.30
6. Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 40.80
7. Nathan Johnstone, Australia, 40.70
8. Zack Black, Breckenridge, CO, 39.60
9. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, CO, 39.50
10. Matt Ladley, Steamboat Springs, CO, 39.40
11. Mathieu Crepel, France, 38.30
12. Luke Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 38.20
13. Andy Finch, Truckee, CA, 38.00
14. Jack Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 37.90
15. Brad Martin, Canada, 37.20
16. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 36.90
1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 45.60
2. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 44.00
3. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 41.30
4. Clair Bidez, Minturn, CO, 39.90
5. Holly Crawford, Australia, 38.90
6. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT, 38.30
7. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 37.90
8. Maddy Schaffrick, Steamboat Springs, CO, 37.20