Shaun White Crashes in Olympic Slopestyle Qualifier

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJanuary 16, 2014

A scary fall wasn't enough to sidetrack Shaun White from the road to Sochi. 

In his quest to qualify in the snowboarding slopestyle, a new Olympic event, the two-time half-pipe gold medalist crashed on his second run at Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Thursday, Jan. 16, finishing last in the event.    

On the second big jump of the run, White attempted a double flip but came down from upwards of 50 feet right onto his face. He lay motionless for a while, but eventually got up and was tended to by medical staff before walking down the mountain on his own power. 

Here's a look at the scary fall (1:05:26 mark):

White was actually able to start his third run, but he had a shaky landing on his first big jump and pulled off to the side, ending his chances in the third slopestyle qualifier. 

Nevertheless, while his outlook for Sochi was undeniably a little more grim after the fall, White showed zero ill-effects of the crash, bouncing back and winning the fourth qualifier just hours later on Thursday. 

As NBC's Olympics Twitter feed pointed out, the victory assured him a spot in Sochi in the newest snowboarding discipline: 

With just one slopestyle qualifier remaining on Saturday, Chas Guldemond, Ryan Stassel and Sage Kotsenburg will compete to join White as America's representatives.

Here's a look at the standings, courtesy of ESPN.com with an update from NBC Olympic Talk's Nick Zaccardi:

Slopestyle Snowboarding Qualification Standings
PlaceAthletePoints
1Shaun White (clinched Olympic berth)2,000
2Chas Guldemond1,800
3Ryan Stassel1,600
3Sage Kotsenburg1,600
ESPN.com

The top three earn automatic Olympic spots. 

Of course, White's work isn't completely done. Over in the half-pipe, where he will look to defend his gold, he sits in seventh place with 800 points and three qualifying events—two on Friday, one on Sunday—remaining. 

Nevertheless, it's clear that Thursday's nasty fall isn't going to affect him, and it would be extremely surprising if the 27-year-old doesn't head to Sochi, where he has a chance at doubling his Olympic medal total, in two events. 

 

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