MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN -- Snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg didn't worry about results Saturday in the final Olympic selection event for slopestyle.

"There was crazy talk they might just take three" athletes instead of the maximum four to Sochi, he said. "I don't care about that stuff. I'm just here to snowboard."

He did that and more at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix on another warm, cloudless day at Mammoth.

Kotsenburg, of Park City, Utah, had a strong first run of 95.40 points to win his first event in almost a decade to earn a spot at the Sochi Games.

He will join Shaun White, who qualified in slopestyle Thursday and did not enter the final selection event. Chas Gulemond of Truckee also made the team despite finishing sixth Saturday.

White is scheduled to start Sunday in the halfpipe, looking to earn a guaranteed spot on the team.

Jamie Anderson of South Lake Tahoe also already had qualified in the new slopestyle event that involves skateboard-like rails and jumps. The X-Games star won her third consecutive event at Mammoth by dominating the field with a score of 96.0.

"I figured it really was practice to compete again," she said. "I'm working on some new tricks and progressing my riding. I just wanted to have fun."

It sounded like the snowboard credo Saturday. The winners were all smiles and relaxed as if it were another day on the mountain.

But Kotsenburg's dad, Steve Kotsenburg, looked anxious when congratulating his son.


Advertisement

"I can't breathe," he said. "I can't breathe."

It wasn't the high altitude of 9,000 feet that was bothering him.

"Mom and dad, we have more stress than the kids did," he said later.

Kotsenburg's daughter Kirra finished seventh.

Sage Kotsenburg, 20, had two second-place finishes before the final qualifier but wasn't sure what it would take to advance, other than a victory. He rode the park course like he didn't care.

After securing a big score on the first run the snowboarder attempted a new trick on run No. 2 but couldn't complete it. Kotsenburg said he might try it again in Sochi.

Anderson has some new tricks planned for the Olympics. But first she's headed the X-Games, Thursday through next Sunday at Aspen, Colo. While White is expected to skip his first Winter X-Games in history, Anderson isn't about to back off the pedal.

"People were like why would you go to the X-Games and risk hurting yourself?" Anderson said. "My response is: you can hurt yourself doing anything. I want to live for the moment and be who I am. I just want to have fun shredding."

Brandon Davis of Mammoth Lakes was fourth, missing the podium by one point. Vermont's Ty Walker finished fifth in the women's event Saturday but qualified for Sochi in a tie breaker.

The full teams for halfpipe and slopestyle will be named Sunday.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.