January 29

Road to Sochi: Wescott’s Olympic bid in jeopardy

The cancellation of the final snowboard cross qualifying event hurts Seth Wescott’s chances of making the U.S. team.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Seth Wescott’s bid to defend his two Olympic gold medals in snowboard cross is in jeopardy.

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Seth Wescott’s chances to return to the Olympics may come down to a decision by team coaches. A final World Cup qualifying event scheduled for next weekend in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, has been canceled because of a lack of snow.

Portland Press Herald file photo

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A final World Cup qualifying event scheduled for next weekend in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, has been canceled because of a lack of snow, which means Wescott’s chances to return to the Olympics may come down to a decision by team coaches.

While recovering from April surgery on his left knee, Wescott, 37, has competed in just two Olympic qualifying events. He failed to get out of the qualifying round Friday in his first race of the season at Vallnord-Arcalis in Andorra, and he finished 31st Sunday in a second event at Vallnord-Arcalis.

Four men will be selected to the U.S. snowboard cross team that will compete in the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. According to U.S. Snowboarding, Trevor Jacob, Alex Deibold and Nate Holland have achieved the Olympic selection criteria with a top-four finish in one of the qualifying events.

That leaves one slot. Because of the cancellation in Switzerland, it might be filled with a coach’s discretionary pick. The full team nomination will come later this month.

“It’s in the coaches hands now ... they are going to have to make a call,’’ Wescott wrote in an email Sunday afternoon. “I didn’t engage them at all in conversation this afternoon.’’

Wescott, who lives in Carrabassett Valley, added, “There is a chance that with the canceled event, X Games will become a qualifier. That would work well for me. I made great progress in the 11 runs I had (on) a race course over the weekend. Feeling positive about the progress and excited with how I feel physically.’’

The X Games are Jan. 23-26 in Aspen, Colo.

Alex Tuttle, 23, of Stratton, finished 23rd Sunday and is unlikely to get an Olympic berth.

Wescott’s Olympic success could make him a discretionary pick. But Nick Baumgartner, a 2010 Olympian, has had some strong results and was the top American on Sunday, finishing eighth.

SKI HALFPIPE: Simon Dumont of Bethel took a big step toward securing an Olympic berth, finishing fourth Sunday in an Olympic qualifier at Breckenridge, Colo.

Dumont missed the first qualifier of the season because of a concussion and finished fifth in another.

He will compete again Jan. 17 and 18 at Park City, Utah.

Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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