Ride?s J.J. Thomas Secures Fourth Olympic Spot On U.S. Halfpipe Team

VASHON, WASHINGTON (January 25, 2002) ? It?s official: J.J. Thomas has made the U.S. Olympic Halfpipe Team and is on his way to Salt Lake City! After taking the halfpipe at the final U.S. Chevy Truck Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colorado with a near perfect run, Thomas seemed to have earned the fourth and final spot on the men?s team. However, since the U.S. can only bring fourteen riders total to the Olympics (halfpipe and racing combined), which team that extra spot would go to was yet to be determined.

In the meantime, J.J. has been on fire! Not only did he place first in Breckenridge with a monster McTwist off the first hit, fifteen-foot airs down the pipe, and a frontside nine into a switch McTwist, but he did it again the following weekend in Aspen at the Winter X-Games! Dropping in 14th out of 23 riders in what he called “the perfect pipe on the perfect day,” Thomas? first run was the highest score at 93.3 of the entire event. So with back-to-back wins, all this hometown hero from Golden, Colorado could do was stay positive and wait out the final decision, which took place yesterday after the last PGS qualifier.

Now, as he officially heads to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, this Golden Child aims to take nothing less than that. “I?m really excited to be a part of the Olympics. I?ll try my hardest and pretend it?s just like any other contest,” says J.J. Then he adds sarcastically with a laugh, “You know, I?ll just block out the 15,000 people watching.” Thomas competes on Monday, February 11, which will be televised that evening on NBC from 3:00 to 4:00 PM PT and 7:30 to11:00 PM PT. Go Team U.S.A.!