12/15 16:39 CST Pates gets leg up on Olympic berth; Chloe Kim seals spot
Pates gets leg up on Olympic berth; Chloe Kim seals spot
By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (AP) --- The most surprised guy on the halfpipe Friday:
He also happened to be the winner of the Dew Tour and might have to clear his
schedule for Feb. 14, the day of the men's halfpipe final at the Pyeongchang
The 19-year-old out of Eagle, Colorado came from nowhere to win the second of
four U.S. qualifying events and put himself in position to be on the team
heading to the Olympics in two months.
"I never thought in a million years I'd have won this event today," Pates said.
"All I wanted was to land that run. I'd been dreaming about that all week."
In the women's event, Chloe Kim won her second straight qualifier to sew up a
spot on the Olympic team.
"I'm proud of the kid, getting in, it's amazing. She's the most talented
snowboarder I've seen in a long time," said three-time Olympic medalist Kelly
Clark, who finished second.
Clark bashed her face on the top of the halfpipe on her second run, but still
came back for a final run to add a second-place finish to her third-place
finish last week.
"If I'm physically able, I'm going to be out there," said Clark, who is in good
position to make her fifth Olympic team.
Pates' run, featuring a version of the Double McTwist 1260 that Shaun White
brought to the sport eight years ago, earned him a score of 97.33 and a victory
over Australia's Scotty James and America's Ben Ferguson. Pates said it was
only the fourth time he'd landed the trick on snow, and the first time in
He made no attempt to mask his shock. Among those in the field he dusted
included Olympic gold and silver medalists Iouri Podladtchikov and Ayumu
Hirano, two-time Winter X Games champion Danny Davis and James, who finished
second and is considered a prime contender at the Olympics.
White wiped out during his two qualifying runs Thursday and did not make the
final, but is still in good shape to make the Olympic team.
The next qualifying event is Jan. 10 in Snowmass.
Until then, Pates will use the time to let this sink in.
"It was kind of insane. Still pretty shocked. It was a lot of fun," he said.
Winners of the ski halfpipe events were Alex Ferreira of the U.S. and Canada's