The key players did what they had to today.
Riding in the third heat, 87th overall, and battling strong winds and deteriorating weather, Todd Richards threw down an amazing run and placed second overall going into the finals tomorrow at the Chevy Truck U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix at Breckenridge, Colorado.
With three men’s Olympic halfpipe team spots still up in the air, Richards, Keir Dillon, Shaun White, Tommy Czeschin, Andy Finch, Danny Kass, Luke Wynen, and J.J. Thomas all placed well enough to earn spots in the finals tomorrow. The top twenty scoring men and top ten scoring women moved from the qualifying round today to the finals tomorrow. And it’s down to do or die to see who makes the Olympic halfpipe men’s and women’s teams. Oh, and there’s also $10,000 up for grabs as well.
Not surprisingly, the qualifying round did little to sort out who would make the team, but it did determine what order they would ride in during tomorrow’s finals. White had the best score today, and will be riding last tomorrow in the best-score-of-two-runs format finals competition. White, along with most of the other top competitors, were in the first heat of riders today and not surprisingly, he along with Czeschin, Finch, Kass, Powers, and Thomas, all did well enough to earn places in the finals.
Dillon and Richards were in more precarious positions, riding in the second and third heats, respectively. Riding toward the end of the second heat of 30 riders, Dillon launched higher than any other competitor, and scored a ten in amplitude and landed in third place overall, bumping a surprisingly hot Travis Rice into fourth place. But it only lasted about an hour, when Richards, seeking redemption for his chokes in the previous Grand Prixs, made his epic run and ended up in second overall, bumping everyone down one place, and moving Czeschin into third and Dillon into fourth.
So who’s going to end up on top? Log on tomorrow to get the whole results from the Grand Prix at Breckenridge and to see who gets named to the Olympic men’s and women’s halfpipe teams.