Shaun White makes Olympic snowboarding team as oldest U.S. halfpipe rider ever
Shaun White was named to his fifth and likely final Olympic team, as expected, and will become the oldest U.S. halfpipe rider in Winter Games history.
The full snowboard roster was announced Friday.
White, a three-time gold medalist, leads a men’s halfpipe team of underdogs for medals in China. White made one podium in five contests since returning from a three-year break last year. Riders from Japan and Australia are the favorites.
White, 35, will break the retired Kelly Clark‘s record as the oldest U.S. Olympic halfpipe rider. He is also older than any previous male halfpipe rider from any nation in Olympic history, according to Olympedia.org.
The rest of the men’s halfpipe team: 2014 Olympian Taylor Gold, 2018 Olympian Chase Josey and first-timer Lucas Foster.
Defending Olympic champion Chloe Kim and fellow medal threat Maddie Mastro previously qualified in women’s halfpipe. Coaches announced two more riders Friday -- first-time Olympians Zoe Kalapos and Tessa Maud.
The snowboard cross team includes the oldest athlete on the entire U.S. Olympic team -- 40-year-old Nick Baumgartner -- and now-five-time Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis. Both previously qualified, as did Hagen Kearney and Faye Gulini. The new additions announced Friday: 2019 World champion Mick Dierdorff, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Alex Deibold, Stacy Gaskill and Meghan Tierney.
The U.S. earned two spots in parallel giant slalom, both men, and filled them with Cody Winters and Robby Burns.
In slopestyle, defending gold medalists Jamie Anderson and Red Gerard previously qualified. As did returning Olympians Hailey Langland and Chris Corning and first-time Olympian Dusty Henricksen.
The final riders were Julia Marino, Courtney Rummel and Sean FitzSimons, who won a competition in Switzerland last week and beat out Brock Crouch for the last spot. That’s notable given Crouch survived life-altering injuries after being buried for several minutes in an avalanche four years ago.
In freestyle skiing, the last Olympic roster spots were also announced Friday:
Aerials: Eric Loughran, Ashley Caldwell, Kaila Kuhn
Halfpipe: Birk Irving, Devin Logan, Carly Margulies
Moguls: Kai Owens, Cole McDonald, Nick Page, Dylan Walczyk, Bradley Wilson
Ski Cross: Tyler Wallasch
Slopestyle/Big Air: Nick Goepper, Caroline Claire, Marin Hamill, Darian Stevens
Many Olympic medal contenders previously qualified, including two-time Olympic halfpipe champion David Wise.
A notable is Margulies, who last competed in an International Ski Federation event in December 2019 and was cleared to return to skiing last week, one month after surgery for a torn medial meniscus in her left knee. Margulies has had at least six knee surgeries, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
“I was told by doctors that the tear was so significant that surgery was a non negotiable and i was looking at a 6 to 9 month recovery,” was posted on her social media last month. “i was basically told my olympic dreams were crushed and in that moment i decided i could never go through something like this again therefore my competitive career was over.
“Fast forward to a few days later, i received good news that there was a chance this meniscus would not be repairable resulting in a snip of the damaged area and only a 4 to 6 week recovery!”
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