Hard to believe, but it’s that time.
Four years after Rigby’s Jessika Jenson made her first Winter Olympic team, she is days away from finding out if she will make her second one.
Alpine skiier Breezy Johnson will also find out soon if she is selected for the 2018 U.S. Olympic ski team.
The Medal Stand: Olympic snowboard team TBD Saturday
It all comes down to Saturday for Rigby snowboarder Jessika Jenson.
The 2009 Rigby High School graduate and 2014 U.S. Olympian remains in contention to make her second Olympic snowboarding team, which will be announced Saturday evening upon conclusion of the slopestyle and halfpipe snowboard finals at Mammoth Mountain, Calif. The competition at Mammoth this week is the final Olympic qualifier for slopestyle and halfpipe snowboarding and skiing. It is the same venue Jenson secured the fourth and final spot for the 2014 U.S. Olympic slopestyle snowboard team by placing third.
Due to incoming snow at Mammoth, the slopestyle snowboard and halfpipe ski qualifying rounds were moved up to Wednesday. Jenson was one of eight women to qualify for Saturday’s finals, placing sixth Wednesday. Jamie Anderson (already on the 2018 Olympic team), Julia Marino, Nora Healey, Hailey Langland and Ty Walker are the snowboarders who placed ahead of Jenson on Wednesday.
Ten athletes have secured their spots on the slopestyle and halfpipe teams thus far: Anderson, Shaun White, Ben Ferguson, Jake Pates, Chloe Kim, Red Gerard, Chris Corning, David Wise, Maddie Bowman, Maggie Voisin. Through last week’s Olympic qualifier at Aspen Snowmass Resort, Colo., where Jenson led U.S. women with a fifth-place finish in slopestyle finals, Jenson is third in the U.S. Olympic women’s slopestyle snowboard rankings with 1,600 qualifier points. Two other women, Marino and Langland, also have 1,600 points.
Up to four women will be chosen for the U.S. Olympic slopestyle and big air snowboard team based the above mentioned points, which include an athlete’s best two finishes at Olympic qualifying events. Athletes must meet minimum FIS qualifying criteria (top 30 World Cup finish plus top 50 points ranking) and minimum U.S. qualifying criteria (one podium finish at an Olympic qualifying event). Through Wednesday, Jenson is seventh in the FIS women’s slopestyle snowboard leaderboard (and the second highest ranked American) with 670 World Cup points and 19th in the FIS women’s big air snowboard leaderboard (and fifth highest ranked American) with 650 World Cup points. Marino and Langland, however, have at least one podium finish at an Olympic qualifier thus far while Jenson and Walker do not.
The Post Register will share the results of Saturday’s finals as well as the final Olympic team roster in Sunday’s paper.
Victor alpine skier Breezy Johnson is also entering the home stretch for Olympic qualifying. She most recently competed at the World Cup stop in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, placing 26th in the Super G last Saturday and 26th in the downhill last Sunday. Her next races are in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, from Friday through Sunday. Johnson told the Post Register earlier this month that the U.S. Olympic alpine ski team will be finalized by Monday or Tuesday. Thus far, Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Megan McJames and Jackson Hole native Resi Stiegler have clinched spots on the women’s side. Up to 22 skiers (men and women combined) can represent Team USA next month in Pyeongchang as long as the team does not include more than 14 skiers of the same gender or more than four starters in the same event. World Cup points and World Cup finishes are both factors used for making the team.