Copper part of the chase for gold
22 December 2013
FREESTYLE SKI/ SNOWBOARD: Australia’s slopestyle skiers and snowboard halpipe riders are contesting their first “dress rehearsal” competition for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games as the world’s best go all out in the United States. Follow the first World Cup event of the Northern Hemisphere season at Copper Mountain as it happens...
On day 1 of competition, Russ Henshaw finishes second in his Ski Slopestyle heat to cruise through to the finals.
In the men's Halfpipe, Scotty James qualifies based on his overall ranking after finishing fifth in his heat. Compatriots Kent Callister (37th) and Nate Johnstone (38th) do not progress.
Australia's female Snowboard Halfpipe contenders had a tough day in the pipe, finishing in a cluster at the bottom of the qualifying standings: Amber Arazny (16th), Hannah Trigger (17th- H1), Stephanie Magiros (17th- H2), Alex Fitch (19th), Holly Crawford (20th).
Scotty James rips out a huge Snowboard Slopestyle run to qualify first in his heat heading into finals. Slopestyle is one of the new events being introduced at Sochi 2014 and James is a shot at contesting both the Snowboard Halfpipe and Slopestyle events- especially with this kind of form.
James topped the fourth of four heats with a best score of 84.00. American Sage Kotsenburg (94.33) and Norwegians Torstein Horgmo (93.00) and Staale Sandbech (88.66) finished first in the other qualifiers.
James posted on Twitter:
Well that went better than I thougt it would. Stoked to qualify first in my heat into finals in slopestyle today :)— Scotty James (@scottyjames31) December 19, 2013
The other Australians did not fare as well with lower rankings in the respective heats: Cameron Staveley (11th), Declan Vogel-Paul (13th), Tim Laidlaw (14th) and Nick Wood (22nd).
Australian female Ski Slopestyle duo Anna Segal and Annabel Blake are off the pace in qualifying and do not make the finals. Blake finishes 26th with a best score of 54.60 points, with Segal in 29th position on 38.20. It took 88.00 points to take out the qualifier for American Voisin Maggie.
The Australian women also missed out on finals berths in the Snowboard Slopestyle event. Biba Turnbull lead the Aussies in 25th (55.00 points best score), with Newcastle's Michaela Davis-Meehan close behind in 26th (54.66) and fellow Sochi hopeful Lauren Staveley 34th (31.33).
In the women's Ski Halfpipe, Amy Sheehan is 14th and Davina Williams 18th- they miss the top 12 cut for finals.
Ski slopestyle skier Russ Henshaw continues his strong season with a third place!
The podium finish gives Henshaw enough points to move into the world’s number two ranking. READ THE FULL STORY HERE >>
Meanwhile young gun Scotty James caps off an impressive snowboard halfpipe World Cup at Copper Mountain with a sixth place.
Nineteen-year-old James, who was the youngest male athlete among all nations competing at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, rode maturely in the 16-man final to finish in a stronger position than a number of more highly ranked athletes.
American’s monopolise the podium with a 1-2-3 finish with Taylor Gold, Gregory Bretz and Ben Ferguson.
Aussies Kent Callister and Nate Johnstone are 37th and 38th.
James is in action again in the Snowboard Slopestyle final, finishing a credible ninth (76.50) to notch two top 10's in Copper Mountain.
James qualified through to the 16-man final after winning his heat several days earlier and was hoping to finish higher in the overall result but he still goes into the Christmas break with his head held high.
James knows that the huge field of 70 athletes boasted the world’s best including a strong US contingent who were using the event to impress selectors of the United States team at February’s Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Norwegian duo Staale Sandbech (97.00) and Torstein Horgmo (94.75) nudged multiple American Olympic Halfpipe Champion Shaun White (90.75) into the bronze medal position.
Slopestyle skiers Anna Segal and Russ Henshaw and snowboard halfpipe riders Holly Crawford, Torah Bright, Nate Johnstone and Kent Callister lead the charge of Aussies competing at the Colorado resort in their first World Cup event of the Northern Hemisphere season.
Added to the World Cup intensity, the Aussies know that the event will create a pressure cooker environment as home grown athletes will come under the watchful scrutiny of American selectors looking to fill some of the places on the USA Olympic Team for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Copper Mountain is part of a five event trials series used in the USA selection process and also, as the second World Cup of the season, the first being Cardrona, NZ, in August, entries are brimming with talent.
Henshaw goes into the event full of confidence fresh from a podium finish in the Dew Tour invitation event in Breckenridge earlier this week.
The 23-year-old from NSW’s alpine town of Jindabyne has a strong connection with Copper Mountain, having been the top qualifier and silver medallist at this event last season.
Henshaw’s counterpart, former World Champion Anna Segal, is equally hungry for success at Copper Mountain after she surprisingly missed the Dew Tour final in Breckenridge.
Segal is competing in her first World Cup since injuring her knee in Switzerland in February.
With only two snowboard halfpipe World Cups before the end of the Sochi qualification cut off date of January 20, our riders plan to make the most of every opportunity.
After winning the Dew Tour event last weekend, Bright goes into Copper Mountain event with a question mark over her head. As well as entering Copper Mountain, she is also listed as a starter in snowboard cross in Lake Louise, Canada.
It is not yet known which event she will attend.