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Halfpipe Olympic Team named

Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff

After two intense days of competition at Park City Mountain Resort, the U.S. Snowboard Team has named eight halfpipe riders to send to the Olympics.

Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, Vt.), Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, Colo.), Hannah Teter (Belmont, Vt.), Elena High (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.), Shaun White (Carlsbad, Calif.), Louie Vito (Sandy, Utah), Greg Bertz (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) and Scotty Lago (Seabrook N.H.) will compete together at the X Games in Aspen, Colo., later this week in preparation for the greatest competition of their lives in Vancouver.

Although Clark and White had previously secured their Olympic spots, they proved themselves once again by taking first place both nights at the Grand Prix at PCMR Jan. 22-23.

According to a press release from the U.S. Ski Team, White stole the show with a historic second run where he dropped double cork, double cork, 540 into double McTwist 12.

White won four of the five events during the Grand Prix and also took home gold at the Olymics in 2006.

Lago, who said he was just hoping for a third-place finish, surpassed Vito in the overall standings by taking two second-place finishes. During a training run last Wednesday, Lago said he was feeling more confident than he ever had.

"I feel like this pipe is to my advantage," he said.

U.S. Snowboard head coach Mike Jankowski said it would have taken "quite a bit" for Vito to get bumped from the Olympic Team, but it was a surprise to see him bumped to third.

On the women’s side, Jankowski has a team of proven competitors. Teter took gold at the 2006 Winter Games with Bleiler in second and Clark in fourth. Clark, who also won four of the five events during this year’s Grand Prix, used the final events to train for the Olympics. According to the press release, she went front-side air, back-side 5, front-side 9, backside 5 and front-side 7 to cab 7.

"Getting to do the most difficult run in a contest setting is the best way to get ready for Vancouver," she said.

Six of the Olympic spots were announced after Saturday’s Grand Prix following a concert by 30 Seconds to Mars. The full team was announced in a press conference on Monday when High and Bertz were added to the team.


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