When all wrapped up in Austria, it became official: Jacobellis will be headed to PyeongChang.
Jacobellis, who is from Stratton Mountain, VT, finished 10th. Faye Gulini made it interesting, winning silver in a photo finish for her best-ever World Cup result, but missing the top step of the podium meant Jacobellis mathematically clinched her Olympic berth.
Jacobellis’ win was her second podium in the two US Olympic qualifying events to that point, putting her on the brink of qualification.
The three-time Olympian has cleaned up on the World Cup circuit over the years, with nine more career wins to her name than anyone else, not to mention her five world championships and 10 Winter X Games gold medals. Her five world titles in five attempts is the most for any snowboarder, male or female, regardless of the event.
She will be headed to PyeongChang looking to snap her streak of bad luck at the Olympics. Her silver medal in Torino in 2006 was achingly close to gold, with an ill-timed grab at the end of the course causing her to fall and Switzerland’s Tanja Frieden to snatch first place. Crashes in 2010 and 2014 resulted in fifth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively.
But even at 32, Jacobellis is as strong a competitor as ever as the reigning snowboardcross world champion. She hasn’t indicated whether or not 2018 will be her last Olympic go-round, but if so, ending it on a golden note would be a fitting finish to a stellar career.
Logan still waiting
Olympic medalists Maddie Bowman and Devin Logan both had the opportunity to qualify for the 2018 US Olympic Halfpipe Skiing Team with a win at the Dew Tour stop in Breckenridge, CO.
Instead, Canada’s Cassie Sharpe took first place, and the Americans will have to wait.
Bowman, the defending Olympic gold medalist in women’s halfpipe skiing, led briefly after rebounding from a fall early in her first run with a big second run, but Marie Martinod, of France, and Sharpe pushed Bowman to third place going into the third and final run.
Bowman had a solid final run, but her score of 90.33 was just a slight improvement over the 90 she scored on the second run and not enough to overtake Sharpe or Martinod. Sharpe won with a score of 93.66, while Martinod was second with a 92, followed by Bowman in third and Logan in fourth place with a score of 83.66.
Olympic qualifying for women’s halfpipe skiing spans five events. In the first event, which took place last February at Mammoth Mountain, CA, Bowman placed second and Logan 28th.
Logan, from Dover, VT, won an Olympic silver medal in slopestyle in 2014 and is looking to compete in both events in 2018. She was second at the Toyota US Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, CO, which was the second qualifying event and first of this season. Bowman was fifth at Copper.
The final two qualifying events will be held January 10 to 12, at the Grand Prix in Snowmass, CO, and January 17 to 19, at the Mammoth Grand Prix.
There’s no stopping Chloe Kim
Coming into the Dew Tour stop at Breckenridge, CO, 17-year-old Chloe Kim needed only to be the top American on the women’s halfpipe snowboarding podium in order to secure a spot on the 2018 US Olympic Team.
For the most dominant woman in the sport the past two years, it wasn’t a big ask.
Kim followed up her win in the first Olympic qualifier at the Toyota US Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, CO, with another victory, and the teenager made the inevitable official.
Kim is going to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
First after Thursday’s qualifying, Kim led a strong US field that included US teammates Maddie Mastro and Mount Snow, VT, legend Kelly Clark in the final. Kim scored a 93 on her first run to secure gold. Clark finished second, shaking off a scary crash during her second run to score 90.00 during her third run. Arielle Gold, a 2014 Olympian, rounded out the podium with a score of 87.
With podium finishes in several qualifiers four years ago, Kim could have qualified for the Olympics in 2014 and probably would have been in medal contention, but at just 13 years old she did not reach the minimum age requirement. She’s only grown more impressive in the years since, winning gold medals in halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, becoming the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in competition in February 2016 and going on a streak that would see her go more than a year without losing a competition.
Last season she missed the podium at the PyeongChang test event, coming in fourth, but Kim also racked up a number of impressive wins and finished the season on top of the FIS World Cup rankings, a position she maintains so far this season.
Clark needs some strong finishes in the next two qualifiers to earn her fifth trip to the Olympics. She won a gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City games.
Karen Price and Todd Kortemeier contributed these reports for TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial Inc.