Gold, Fifth At Toyota U.S. Grand Prix
2014 Olympian Taylor Gold was the top U.S. finisher today at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix finals, earning fifth place in the Woodward Copper superpipe. This was the first Olympic halfpipe qualifying event of this season.
“That was the run I wanted to do coming into today and after slamming on my first run, It was really nice to land that second one,” said Gold. “The riding is just insane these days so I’m always happy to be up there. Top five is great, of course I want to be on the podium and that’s what I keep striving for but I’m happy.”
U.S. Snowboard Team rider and 2018 Olympian Chase Josey finished in sixth, followed by three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White in eighth at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix finals.
Looking ahead to the Dew Tour next week, which is also an Olympic qualifier in this same halfpipe at Woodward Copper, Gold says, “The pipe is really good. I’m going to need a day off at least, maybe two,” referring to his harrowing crash on his first hit mid-McTwist. “After that I’ll feel fresh again and be ready to go. It’ll be nice to get a few more days in here, that’ll be a good time to maybe add in some more of these tricks that I want to add but I’m happy with that first attempt.”
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Halfpipe Coach JJ Thomas says that after taking that huge crash, he was expecting Gold to take a safety run to get back into it, but two minutes before dropping into his second run, says JJ, “He just laced probably the best run he’s ever done and that just made my day. To come back after that crash and put down that run, I told him that was one of the sickest athletic performances I’ve ever seen in my life. That was so boss.”
Josey and White also put down two great runs each, but weren’t able to break into the podium.
Japan’s Ruka Hirano took first, followed by Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer and Japan’s Yuto Totsuka in third. Japan’s Raibu Katayama went down hard during finals, and we are sending our thoughts out for a quick recovery.
In the women’s field China’s Cai Xuetong took first, followed by Japan’s Sena Tomita and Spain’s Queralt Castellet in third.
The next Olympic halfpipe qualifier is the Dew Tour right here at Copper Mountain, Colo. Dec. 16–19. The packed U.S. Snowboard Team roster will include Chloe Kim, who’s coming into this event following a podium trifecta sweep last winter, including at the Aspen U.S. Grand Prix Olympic tryout event, along with teammate Maddie Maestro, who graced the X Games Aspen and World Championship podiums earning silver medals at each. Mastro and Kim are two of the best women’s snowboard halfpipe athletes in the world right now and are forces to be reckoned with coming into the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.