Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Community News Network

February 11, 2014

White, US snowboarders stumble in halfpipe finals

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Shaun White came to these Sochi Olympics with big expectations. Already the owner of two gold medals, White qualified for two events and his goal here was as simple as it was lofty: to make history. No U.S. male had ever claimed three gold medals in the same event. Plus, White was hoping to double up in Sochi by trying to win the Olympic debut of slopestyle competition.

But he pulled out of the slopestyle event last week and then in Tuesday's halfpipe finals, he struggled to even stay upright. With a fourth-place finish, he'll leave the Sochi Olympics with zero medals.

Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchivov, the Russian-born 2013 world championships winner, took gold with a score of 94.75, while Japan's Ayumu Hirano (93.50) and Taku Hiraoka (92.25) took silver and bronze. White's best score in the finals was 90.25, which means he missed a medal by two points.

It was a shocking conclusion for a U.S. team that had a chance to sweep the podium. In the event's short history, the Americans had dominated, winning eight of the 12 medals that have been awarded since halfpipe debuted at the 1998 Olympics, including all three in Salt Lake City and two apiece in Turin and Vancouver. And they appeared positioned for another strong showing at these Sochi Games. Three of the four American entrants advances to the finals with strong qualifying runs earlier in the day.

But when the sun set and the lights shined brightest on the pipe at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, the Americans faltered. All three riders took spills on both their runs in the finals.

They were not in good shape from the start. In the first run, each botched tricks, none worse than when White landed on the edge of the wall midway through his run. His score at the mid-point was 35.0, 11th in the 12-rider field.

Danny Davis's score of 53.0 put him in 7th place, while Greg Bretz 21.75 had him sitting in last. Like White, Bretz and Davis both fell again on their second run, and neither was ever in contention for a top-3 finish.The American riders were among the most vocal in criticizing the condition of the halfpipe following practice rounds on Sunday and Monday. But White posted the event's highest qualifying score and Davis expressed confidence earlier in the day that riders would be able to successfully navigate the pipes slushy, bumpy surface.

White became the first American man to win three straight Olympic gold medals, joining speed skater Bonnie Blair as only the second U.S. athlete overall. Two-time gold medalist Shani Davis will try to match the feat Wednesday in the 1,000-meter speed skating race.

Bretz, a 23-year old rider appearing in his second Olympics - he finished 12th in Vancouver - rode plenty of momentum into the Sochi Games. In December he beat White at a Dew Tour event in Breckenridge, Colo. He posted the second-best score in the semifinal round Tuesday. But he finished the competition Tuesday in 12th place with a high score of 26.50.

And Davis, a Michigan native competing in his first Winter Games, has been a highly-touted rider since he was a teenager but missed the 2010 Games after he broke his back on an ill-fated, drunken ATV ride. Though White had the mainstream appeal, Davis had always been a strong rider, culminating with his gold medal win at the Winter X-Games two weeks ago in Aspen, Colo. He was considered a medal contender here at the Sochi Games but finished 10th place with a high score of 53.0.

The women's halfpipe is scheduled for Wednesday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 14, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

Biz Marquee
AP Video