Yater-Wallace third at Mammoth Grand Prix, likely secures Olympic spot

Austin Colbert
The Aspen Times

men’s ski halfpipe final results

1. Kyle Smaine, 92.20

2. Alex Ferreira, 90.40

3. Torin Yater-Wallace, 89.20

4. David Wise, 88

5. Birk Irving, 85.60

6. Aaron Blunck, 75.60

7. Jake Mageau, 67.80

8. Jaxin Hoerter, 24.60

9. Gus Kenworthy, 15.40

10. Hunter Hess, DNS

It took a miracle final run, but Aspen halfpipe skier Torin Yater-Wallace likely punched his ticket to the 2018 Winter Olympics next month in South Korea.

Friday night at Mammoth Mountain, Yater-Wallace finished third in the final U.S. Olympic-team qualifier to earn his second qualifying podium. His other came in his victory last winter, also at Mammoth.

Entering this weekend’s Mammoth Grand Prix, Yater-Wallace, a 2014 Olympian, was anything but a lock. Nevada’s David Wise and Aspen’s Alex Ferreira, who finished 1-2 in the Snowmass Grand Prix last week, were sitting pretty. The third and fourth team spots were down to Crested Butte’s Aaron Blunck, who already had the required two podiums, Telluride’s Gus Kenworthy and Yater-Wallace.

Kenworthy had the best chance to upend Yater-Wallace for a spot on the Olympic team, but couldn’t put down a clean run on Friday to finish ninth with a score of 15.40. Yater-Wallace only managed runs of 13 and 12.20 in his first two goes, meaning his entire Olympic hopes came down to one run.

There, he scored 89.20 to finish third behind Tahoe’s Kyle Smaine (92.20) and Ferreira (90.40). Wise was fourth (88), Avon’s Birk Irving fifth (85.60) and Blunck sixth (75.60).

The U.S. Ski Team is expected to officially announce its Olympic team tonight. If everything holds, Wise, Ferreira, Yater-Wallace and Blunck will be the four. Wise is the reigning Olympic gold medalist, while Yater-Wallace and Blunck would become two-time Olympians. This would be Ferreira’s first trip to the Olympics.

In the women’s ski halfpipe competition on Friday, Brita Sigourney won with 91.20, followed by Maddie Bowman’s 89.80 and Devin Logan’s 83.80.

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