Angeli VanLaanen overcomes Lyme disease to make Olympic Team
Angeli VanLaanen won the final Olympic selection event in ski halfpipe Saturday, capping one of the most inspiring runs to the U.S. Olympic Team across all sports.
VanLaanen, 28, took a three-year break from halfpipe skiing in 2009 to treat Lyme disease, which went misdiagnosed for 14 years. She released a 30-minute documentary about her treatment -- “LymeLight” -- last year.
On Saturday, VanLaanen needed a podium finish and posted a first-run score of 88.2 points. It held up to beat 10 women taking two runs. She joins Maddie Bowman and Brita Sigourney on the U.S. Olympic Team in ski halfpipe.
Bowman is the reigning Winter X Games champion. Sigourney won silver at the 2011 X Games and bronze in 2012. Other medal contenders include Canada’s Roz Gronewoud (2012 X Games champion) and Switzerland’s Virginia Faivre (2013 World Champion).
Ski halfpipe was once dominated by Canadian Sarah Burke, who died on Jan. 19, 2012, nine days after crashing in training in Park City.
One more woman could be added to the U.S. Olympic Team as a discretionary selection next week. The leading contenders are Devin Logan and Annalisa Drew, who were third and fourth behind VanLaanen and Sigourney on Saturday.
Logan already made the Olympic Team in ski slopestyle.