Park City's Joss Christensen earns final spot on inaugural Olympic slopestyle team
PARK CITY — Park City’s Joss Christensen received the last spot on the first-ever U.S. Olympic ski slopestyle team Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm just unbelievably stoked right now," Christensen said after learning he'd been nominated to the team. "It's all pretty crazy in my head today. I was really trying to go for it in the last two grand prix's in Park City to give myself a shot at going and just can't believe it worked out. (I'm) smiling from ear to ear, and now I just can't wait to get to Sochi."
The 22-year-old graduate of Park City's Winter Sports School won Saturday’s final Grand Prix qualifier with a jaw-dropping performance that earned him 96.20 points. He finished fourth on Friday and the combination of results was enough to earn him a spot on the U.S. team.
After the win, Christensen was all smiles.
“Pretty speechless, happy and stoked,” he said after earning his first win of the season. “I woke up this morning, and I knew if I wanted to have a chance to go to Sochi, I just needed to win today. I’ve never actually won a big event before.”
One of Christensen’s Olympic teammates, Gus Kenworthy, called it “one of the best runs I’ve seen in slopestyle.”
Christensen, who had his own cheering section at Park City Mountain Resort, said competing in his hometown gave him a level of comfort and confidence as he fought for a spot on the team. He was especially grateful for the support of his friends and family.
“It gives me so much more confidence knowing they’re all down at the bottom watching me, cheering me on,” he said. “I’ve gotta make them proud.”
Christensen injured his knee late in the 2012 season, but still managed to finish fifth in the overall rankings in 2013.
After the win, Christensen was tied with one of his childhood friends and fellow Winter Sports School graduates, Alex Schlopy, just outside the top three. USSA officials announced his nomination to the 2014 Olympic team Tuesday afternoon in a press release.
“Each of the freeskiing athletes added to our nominations brings potential for success in Sochi,” said director of freeskiing and snowboarding Jeremy Forster. “They each distinguished themselves during the Grand Prix qualifying series with some amazing performances, all the way through the last qualifying events this past weekend.”
The other discretionary picks are: skicross, John Teller, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.; men’s ski halfpipe, Torin Yater-Wallace, Aspen, Colo.; women’s ski halfpipe, Annalisa Drew, Andover, Mass., and women’s slopestyle ski, Julia Krass, Hanover, N.H., and Maggie Voisin, Whitefish, Mont.
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