After placing 14th in the men’s snowboard halfpipe qualifier at Dew Tour, Shaun White will not be in Friday’s final.
Certainly not what the two-time Olympic gold medalist was hoping for, as Dew Tour Breckenridge is the second of four selection events for the U.S. Olympic halfpipe team.
So what does this news mean for Shaun’s Olympic hopes? In short, he’s still in a good spot despite Thursday’s setback.
He’ll officially finish the weekend eighth among Americans, good enough for 320 selection points. That will bring his current total to 1120 points. It's too early to say where that will rank him among his teammates, though, that all depends on Friday’s final results.
The good news for Shaun is that the final U.S. Olympic team rankings will only factor in each athlete’s two best results, and Shaun already has a second-place finish among U.S. riders, which he earned last weekend at Copper Mountain. So if he has a strong result at either of the final two contests, he’ll wipe today’s finish off the board completely.
Plus, Shaun has the added benefit of already having a top-three finish. Riders need a minimum of one podium result to be eligible for automatic selection to the Olympic team. Up to three riders can be nominated to the team this way, but he and Ben Ferguson are the only two who have hit the mark so far. If the U.S. were to get shut out from the podium at Dew Tour, White would still be sitting in one of the automatic selection spots. In the event that fewer than three riders earn a top-three result during the four selection events, then the ranking points wouldn’t even come into play under that scenario.
And should things really go awry, there is also a fourth spot on the Olympic team that will be awarded at the discretion of the coaches.
As for the rest of the U.S. team, Ben Ferguson, who was the top qualifier on Thursday, can wrap up his nomination to the Olympic team if he finishes as the top American in the field. No one else can mathematically secure their spot on the team, but finishing on the podium would allow them to at least become eligible.