January 29

Olympic Roundup: Dumont’s Olympic hopes in peril

Simon Dumont of Bethel misses the next-to-last skiing halfpipe qualifier.

From staff and news services

Simon Dumont’s bid to qualify for the Sochi Winter Olympics took a hit Friday night.

Dumont, from Bethel, did not participate in a skiing halfpipe qualifier at Park City, Utah.

According to a television commentator, “Simon Dumont was scratched and on his way to the hospital.”

No further details were available late Friday night.

Dumont suffered a badly broken ankle last summer and tweeted Thursday that his ankle was sore.

The final qualifying event is Saturday in Park City. But Dumont’s absence Friday means the only way he can make the Olympic team is through a discretionary pick by U.S. Ski team coaches. He missed the first qualifier because of a concussion, then finished fifth and fourth in the next two. Athletes need two top-three finishes to automatically qualify for the Olympics.

SNOWBOARDING: Shaun White skipped a morning qualifier at Mammoth Lake, Calif., to get some needed rest, a calculated risk considering the two-time Olympic gold medalist still wasn’t assured of a spot in Sochi for his signature event.

Two thrilling trips down Mammoth Mountain later in the afternoon all but solved that problem. Oh, and they sent a message too.

The sport’s greatest ever is still on top of his game. In fact, he’s building on it.

Soaring through the California air looking very much like someone intent on making history, White dominated the afternoon session, posting a score of 98.6 to move closer to one of the four spots on the U.S. Olympic halfpipe team.

Even better, he did it while landing the latest wrinkle in his ever-expanding repertoire.

White nailed a frontside double-cork 1440 in competition for the first time during his second run, a trick he spent the run-up to Sochi obsessing over. The payoff came in the middle of his run as he packed four full twists and two flips inside in one physics-defying leap.

Not bad considering a needed win was already assured. White posted a 97 during his first run, which included his usual double McTwist 1260. The new skill adds half a rotation, which he says changes it completely.

“I was treating it like an Olympic event, which it is,” White said. “I wanted to up my score. I wanted to do something under pressure ... I’m happy I landed it.”

It also avoided any second-guessing after White decided to skip the morning event following a busy Thursday in which he wiped out during a slopestyle qualifying event, then returned to the top of the hill hours later and secured a berth on the Olympic slopestyle team by winning the competition.

Looked like it. Scotty Lago, who won bronze behind White in Vancouver in 2010, thrust himself back into the mix for Sochi by finishing second. Taylor Gold wrapped up his spot in Sochi by finishing third.

Kelly Clark, who took gold in Salt Lake City in 2002, swept both women’s events Friday and is guaranteed a spot on the Olympic team. The other three spots are a toss-up, though 2006 Olympic champion and 2010 silver medalist Hannah Teter bolstered her bid by finishing third.

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