Vancouver Olympian Greg Bretz stomped the superpipe to victory in today’s Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships – the first of five U.S. Olympics qualifying events for the Sochi Winter Games.
Advancing from Thursday's qualifying round in fifth place, he set the pace with a blistering 91.40 score in his first run of the finals within this 22’ high pipe. Throwing double corks, and some wild air, Bretz had a target on his back as the others chased his early lead.
"I am ecstatic right now. Olympics here I come," said Bretz.
This world-class field, that beckoned not only America’s best, but top boarders from Switzerland and Japan, banged some incredible runs – highlighted by big air and gyroscopic twists and flips. Yet, minor sketches like hand drags, and butt bounces stole much needed points away from some of these Sochi Olympics hopefuls’ scores.
Even two-time Olympics gold medalist Shaun White could not overtake the lead, despite landing two back-to-back double corks and a double McTwist 1260 in his second trek down the record-length, 600-foot long monstrosity. His 90.40 mark fell just short, as his first trick got squirrelly on him as he wavered his big air.
The puzzled White said, "It's one of those days. It was weird."
Rising phenom, 20-year-old Taylor Gold seized the final spot on the podium by going huge – highlighted by a double cork frontside 1080 in a torrid 89.60 run.
Louie Vito, fifth place finisher at the Vancouver Games, grabbed fourth (88.00) and positioned himself as strong contender to make Team USA once more.
The road to Sochi continues at the Copper Mountain, CO resort this month where the rest of this field, including Vancouver Olympics bronze medalist Scotty Lago and veteran Danny Davis, will contend for the likely four men’s spots for the Winter Games.
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