Shaun White Leads Halfpipe; Mancuso Wins First U.S. Skiing Medal

Shaun White Leads Halfpipe; Mancuso Wins First U.S. Skiing MedalAfter hearing complaints about the course, officials at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games considered eliminating the qualifying round of the men’s halfpipe event hoping that the conditions on the course would improve. They changed their mind and ran the qualifying anyway and American Shaun White proved why he is the best in the world in the event. This came after Julia Mancuso won the U.S.’s first skiing medal of the games.

White’s first run of 95.75 was the top score in the preliminary round. He cruised through his second run and qualified directly for the final along with his teammate Danny Davis. Gregory Betz and Taylor Gold, the other U.S. competitors, qualified for the semifinals.

Many of the halfpipe competitors complained that the course was too slushy, which made the course slow. Temperatures at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park were above freezing yesterday and may be even higher today. The halfpipe course was questioned prior to the start of the games for its safety. While improvements were made, the weather took its toll on the course on Monday. The semifinals and finals in the event will wrap up Tuesday.

Mancuso, one of the most decorated female U.S. skiers of all-time, raced to the bronze medal in the women’s super-combined. In the event, skiers must race downhill and then also complete a slalom course later the same day. The 29-year-old smoked the competition in the downhill and did just enough in the slalom to capture the bronze and give her more Olympic medals than any U.S. female skier.

She finished third behind gold medalist Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Nicole Hosp of Austria, who won the silver. Based on her outstanding downhill run in the competition, Mancuso is now one of the favorites to win the individual women’s downhill on Wednesday.

It is the fourth trip to the Olympics for Mancuso, who won her first Olympic medal in 2006 in Torino. Should White win the men’s halfpipe, he will become the first American male to win gold in the same event in three consecutive Winter Olympics.