Four more freeskiers lock up spots on U.S. Olympic halfpipe team

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The U.S. freeski team added four more athletes to its halfpipe roster for PyeongChang on Friday night.

Alex Ferreira and Torin Yater-Wallace are joining David Wise on the men’s team, while Brita Sigourney and Devin Logan are joining Maddie Bowman on the women’s team.

For both squads, it all came down to the fifth and final Olympic qualifier in ski halfpipe, which was held at Mammoth Mountain on Friday.

The U.S. can only send a maximum of four men and four women to compete in halfpipe in PyeongChang. But the U.S. boasts more than four men who could be considered gold medal contenders, which made for an intense and highly competitive series of selection events this winter.

Ferreira was already sitting in good shape to qualify for the team but made it official with a second-place finish in Mammoth. Yater-Wallace needed a podium result in order to meet objective criteria and he got just that with a third-place finish.

Yater-Wallace competed at the Sochi Olympics four years ago but was injured at the time and managed just a 26th-place finish. Ferreira, a close childhood friend of Yater-Wallace, will make his Olympic debut in PyeongChang.

Both skiers are capable of big amplitude and big tricks, which will have them both in the running for a medal next month.

The U.S. team will also add a fourth skier via a discretionary selection next week, and Aaron Blunck is currently the frontrunner for that spot. Blunck is the reigning X Games champion and is ranked No. 4 in the selection event standings, making him a strong choice for the pick.

Should the coaches decide to go in a different direction, the most likely options are Kyle Smaine, who was the surprise winner of the qualifier at Mammoth, and Gus Kenworthy.

Kenworthy ended his night with a hard slam though. After struggling earlier in the contest to put down a double cork 1440 on his second hit, Kenworthy dialed things back for his final run but ended up clipping the deck anyway.

Although Kenworthy’s hopes of making the halfpipe team are not looking great, he looks likely to make the U.S. team in slopestyle, which is the event he won a silver medal in at the last Olympics. Assuming he’s healthy, he’s set to compete in the final slopestyle Olympic qualifiers in the coming days.

Kenworthy was the only male skier attempting to make both the U.S. halfpipe and slopestyle team this year.

On the women’s side, Devin Logan may accomplish that feat though. She secured a spot on her first Olympic halfpipe team thanks to a third-place finish at Mammoth and is in the running for a place on her second slopestyle team as well.

At the Sochi Olympics, Logan earned a silver medal in slopestyle, but she has not yet competed in halfpipe at the Winter Games.

Joining Logan on the podium at Mammoth were U.S. teammates Brita Sigourney in first and Maddie Bowman in second. Bowman had already qualified for the Olympic team, but Sigourney clinched with this result.

The women’s team could add a fourth member as a discretionary selection next week, likely either Annalisa Drew or Carly Margulies.U.S. Qualifying Results

Men’s freeski halfpipe

1. David Wise, 200** (QUALIFIED)

2. Alex Ferreira, 180** (QUALIFIED)

3. Torin Yater-Wallace, 160** (QUALIFIED)

4. Aaron Blunck, 140**

5. Kyle Smaine, 129*

6. Gus Kenworthy, 116*

**Has fulfilled minimum criteria (two podium finishes)

*Has one podium finish

Women’s freeski halfpipe

1. Brita Sigourney, 180** (QUALIFIED)

2. Maddie Bowman, 160** (QUALIFIED)

3. Devin Logan, 140** (QUALIFIED)

4. Annalisa Drew, 95

5. Carly Margulies, 86

**Has fulfilled minimum criteria (two podium finishes)

*Has one podium finish

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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