USA Sweep in Sprint Grand Prix
PARK CITY, UT (Feb. 1) - Olympic champion Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) led a USA sweep in the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Park City Mountain Resort. Olympic bronze medalist Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) was second and Luke Mitrani (Mammoth Lakes, CA) third in the FIS World Cup. Chinese rider Jiayu Liu took the women's title over FIS World Champion Arielle Gold (Steamboat Springs, CO) with Kaitlyn Farrington (Sun Valley, ID) third. The finishes for Mitrani and Gold were enough to clinch the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix season title, along with the U.S. Championship crown - plus a payday of $20,000 for the series win. Top riders are now headed to Sochi, Russia for the Olympic test events in the halfpipe Feb. 13-14 with another FIS World Cup.
- Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) had to come from behind on his second run to win the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix in Park City leading a USA sweep with a 97.3.
- Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) was second at 94.5, Luke Mitrani (Mammoth Lakes, CA) third at 91.8.
- China's Jiayu Liu put down a strong second run at 82.0 to edge Arielle Gold (Steamboat Springs, CO) at 80.3. Kaityn Farrington was third at 73.3.
- White left the door open, falling near the bottom of his first run. Lago and Mitrani both rode at an extremely high level, putting the pressure on White for his final run.
- Favorite Kelly Clark (W. Dover, VT) struggled in her two runs, crashing both times. Gold, who recently won the FIS Snowboard World Championship halfpipe, rode strong and picked up the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix series title and $20,000.
- The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain and Park City were both FIS World Cup events along with a 5Star World Snowboard Tour competition.
- The Burton European Open is on tap Feb. 4-9 in Laax, Switzerland. The FIS World Cup now heads for Sochi, Russia with the Olympic test event in the halfpipe Feb. 13-14. FIS World Cups serve as platforms for individual athletes to gain minimum Olympic qualifying criteria as well as nations' quota spots.
1. Shaun White: backside air, frontside 1080 double cork, cab 1080 double cork, frontside 540 stale fish, backside right double McTwist, alley oop rodeo 540.
2. Scotty Lago: cab 1080 double cork, frontside 530, backside 900 mute grab, frontside 900 inverted nose, backside 540 mute grab, frontside 1260 truckdriver grab.
3. Luke Mitrani: backside indy, frontside 1080 double cork, cab 1080 double cork, frontside 900 tail grab, double Michalchuk.
SPRINT U.S. GRAND PRIX FINAL HALFPIPE STANDINGS
U.S. Championship - $20,000 cash prize to winners
1. Luke Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1,400
2. Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 1,050
3. Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 1,000
4. Nathan Johnstone, Australia, 1,000
5. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 960
1. Arielle Gold, Steamboat Springs, CO, 1,300
2. Kelly Clark, W. Dover, VT, 1,200
3. Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, ID, 1,050
4. Jiayu Liu, China, 1,000
5. Torah Bright, Australia, 1,000
It was a do or die scenario and I knew I was going to make that win happen. This halfpipe has a little bit more vert than I had been riding. It encourages me when I fall like I did on my first run and I got a little angry. It makes a win so much more rewarding when you have to come from the back of the heat. Scotty and Luke put down amazing runs and for me it was a defining moment. I got really pumped up when they did that. I felt the pressure - it was more of 'I have to put down a run' instead of 'I want to put down a run.' I am excited, I heard I might have helped to secure an Olympic spot for the U.S. team which would be great and hopefully next season I can claim one of those spots.