Foster and Okesson Finish in Top 10 at Mammoth
Lucas Foster and Joey Okesson were the top U.S. Snowboard team finishers in Saturday night’s final halfpipe event at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California. This event marked the final Olympic qualifying event ahead of the Winter Olympics Beijing 2022.
Foster earned fourth place, with a score of 69.40, followed by Joey Okesson in seventh place with a score of 57.40. The men's U.S. Halfpipe team is still coming together with Taylor Gold the lone men's rider to have achieved criteria to be nominated to the halfpipe team to date.
The top American finisher of the night, Foster was hyped on his fourth-place run, “That’s one of my better runs, I have more in the tank, but I feel like I did my best. I was just happy I was able to do tricks again and land runs, so it felt good to just be back,” said Foster, referring to a fall he took at the Dew Tour that set back his training leading up to this event.
Foster fired up the crowd, putting down a frontside 1080, into a Cab doublecork 1080, ending with back-to-back 1260s.
“Joey and Lukas are the heartbeat of our team, they have so much energy and enthusiasm,” shared Head Halfpipe Coach JJ Thomas. “Last night was the first time they’ve ever been able to perform in front of a huge crowd and it made my whole season watching them enjoy themselves, it was just so sick. They’re the future of our team right now without a doubt and it’s safe to say they’re inspiring a lot of kids, too.”
Shaun White entered Saturday night’s contest with a strong performance, qualifying in third place in heat two. During his qualifying run he landed his double McTwist perfectly, but low on the transition absorbing the landing. He did not start on this second run, then came back during the training window ahead of finals, but chose to make the difficult decision not to compete in finals after that hard landing.
Japan had a strong showing, with Ayumu Hirano earning first place with a score of 95.80 and Ruka Hirano taking second with a 93.40 . Germany's Andre Hoeflich took third with a score of 90.
In the women’s field, Chloe Kim and Maddie Mastro have already achieved criteria to be nominated to Team U.S.A. and chose not to compete this weekend in Mammoth. Japan’s Ruki Tomita took first, followed by China’s Cai Xuetong in second and Japan’s Seno Tomita in third.