Snowboarders Claim Olympic Spots at Mammoth
With the finale of the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix this weekend at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., the first snowboarding members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team were announced. A dozen athletes were recognized as Olympic selections in halfpipe and slopestyle at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Nomination Ceremony presented by Visa in front of a packed house at the base of Mammoth's Unbound Terrain park. All 12 achieved their team status through objective selection criteria.
The entire snowboard team, including any additional selections based on team quotas, plus teams in snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom, will be announced this coming week.
The team will be headlined by two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White (Carlsbad, Calif.), veteran three-time medalist Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, Vt.) and rising star Chloe Kim (Torrance, Calif.). The slopestyle athletes will also compete in big air to close out the Olympics, a new addition to the event program.
NBCUniversal will present more than 2,400 hours of coverage across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, NBCOlympics.com, and the NBC Sports app - the most ever for a Winter Olympics.
All members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team will be confirmed by the United States Olympic Committee when it formally names Team USA this Friday (January 26).
2018 U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM (SNOWBOARDING)
Ben Ferguson, Bend, Ore. (01/21/1995)
Jake Pates, Eagle, Colo. (07/30/1998)
Shaun White, Carlsbad, Calif. (09/03/1986) *
Chloe Kim, Torrance, Calif. (4/23/2000)
Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, Vt. (07/26/1983) *
Maddie Mastro, Wrightwood, Calif. (02/22/2000)
Chris Corning, Silverthorne, Colo. (09/07/1999)
Red Gerard, Silverthorne, Colo. (06/29/2000)
Kyle Mack, West Bloomfield, Mich. (07/06/1997)
Jamie Anderson, S. Lake Tahoe, Calif. (09/13/1990) *
Julia Marino, Westport, Conn. (09/11/1997)
Hailey Langland, San Clemente, Calif. (08/02/2000)
* Competed in past Olympics
PRESS CONFERENCE COMMENTS
It’s nice to know you have all these people who have been through it all before to help you. I called Kelly the other day and she helped me through it. It’s really nice of these guys to help - they just really look out for us.
It’s fun for me because I’ve been through it all. To see these guys in the back be so excited - yah, it’s an experience of a lifetime to be an Olympian. You don’t really know that, that is until you go. You become a part of this bigger thing. It’s fun for me to We’re all going together.
I love the Olympics - I’ve given my life to pursuing this dream. But it’s easy to get caught up in a lot of things. You should not treat the Olympics as a destination or something that defines you. It should be a part of your snowboarding career. We wouldn’t be here unless we loved what we did.
You get to these goals in life and it’s not always what it seems. You can be the Olympic champion but you sacrifice things along the way. It’s all about your moral compass - is it something you want to pursue, these dreams. Sitting here today, I’m much more of a happier person and comfortable with who I am and what I’ve accomplished than ever before. Growing up in this limelight is a difficult thing to have your words get extended across the world - ‘did I mean to say that?’ You’re wearing your flag and representing your family. I’m proud to be in a sport that’s ever-changing.
I didn’t think it was possible to go to the Olympics until last year. I had invitations to these big contests like X Games and that was cool. But my coaches told me the Olympics were a possibility and here I am.
The Olympics was a possibility in my head when I was 17. I started thinking about it when I was on the Rookie Team when I was 16. To be here now and to finally have that dream come true is pretty special. To be with a bunch of my friends up here is pretty fun.
We’ve all trained very hard and we’ll have fun. I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics but it only became a reality a year ago. We had been working so long for it and all of a sudden in a snap we’re here.
Most of it is we do these contests all year long. It’s an Olympic year so it’s a bonus when you make it.
I was a contest snowboarder and it only hit me this year. It’s unreal and a dream come true.
When I went through the Olympic qualifying process when I was 13 I thought more about it. I’m just so stoked to be going with these guys.
It’s super crazy. For so many years I’ve been idolizing the other people on this team. It’s a super cool journey and nice to see all the hard work pay off. To represent the USA is a dream come true.
Four years ago I almost made it but I was just a kid. I thought maybe in another four years I could possibly make it.
I would love to feel like an underdog, but I don’t. Ever since I can remember I’ve been expected to do well. I’m going in to do my best. Getting the 100 was just the best - all the hard work I had put in was paying off. The coaches just said ‘do the hard stuff.’ What an amazing turn for me to win the event, solidify my spot on the team and get the perfect 100. The Olympics will be awesome but that day will forever be a highlight for me. Maybe I’ll be an underdog in skateboarding.
Big air will be a totally new aspect of snowboarding. Now having just one jump in such a crazy stadium with people wondering how the judges will score - maybe even a trick that’s never been done before.
It’s going to be new for everyone to experience big air. It’s great to get a new aspect of snowboarding out there for people to see. The progression of women’s snowboarding has been insane the last few years.