White, Bleiler win 2007 Chevrolet Grand Prix in BreckDec 15 2007 / BRECKENRIDGE, Colo.
Olympic Medalists White, Bleiler win Chevrolet Grand Prix at Breck
Olympic gold medalist Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) and Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) took the top podium spots Saturday as the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix kicked off at Breckenridge Resort.
Shaun White goes big to capture the opening event of the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix.
The event will air on NBC Dec. 22 at 3 p.m. ET and on Versus Dec. 30 at 5 p.m. ET. The tour also will be Webcast on-demand by WCSN.com.
Right on White's heels with a point difference of .6, hometown hero Steve Fisher (Breckenridge, CO) came in second. He was followed by two-time Grand Prix winner Elijah Teter (South Lake Tahoe, CA), who rose from qualifying at fifth place to take third place.
cr. Jennifer Huskey
In the women's competition, Bleiler threw out a cripple, frontside alley-oop to a frontside 540 truck driver finishing with a backside 540 and frontside 900, earning her a score of 45.3. Reigning Grand Prix champion and 2002 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark (Mount Snow, VT) came in second with 42.6 points. Rounding out the podium, in her first major competition since the 2006 season, was Torino Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT), who finished with a huge front nine to earn her a matching podium spot with her brother.
"It's nice to win the first contest of the season," Bleiler said. "It's always great for confidence. I've been riding the past couple of days and early season is always hard for me because it takes me a little while to get back to that level I was riding at [the end of last season]. I was able to step up today and it feels good to overcome that battle."
In the men's competition, White's entry came as a surprise, but according to him, not planning to compete took the added pressure off.
"This year I'm just trying to have some fun and not really put too much pressure on things and so I wasn't going to do the event. Then, I just knew, I was here, I felt good and I just went for it," White said who also won the qualifying round Friday. "It was more fun I think because there wasn't really pressure thinking about it the whole week."
White won the Chevrolet Grand Prix with a straight air into a backside 900 to a frontside 1080, finishing with a Cab 1080 and a frontside 900.
cr. Jennifer Huskey
The competition between White and Fisher, who topped White for his second gold medal in the X Games last January, adds an element of excitement for some.
"They're two of the best riders in the world, so any time they're in the same competition going head to head, it's going to be exciting," said U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski. "It's just about who rides best on that particular day and today was Shaun's day, but Steve was not far behind him and had a great couple of runs. Steve has what it takes to be the best on any given day as well, as he's proven."
"It was a lot of fun. The pipe lined up amazingly, the sun was out and it was sick. It was just great all around," said Fisher, who added that riding with White was great.
It was an amazing day for U.S. riders as they dominated the top three podium spots in both the men's and women's competitions. Nine countries and nearly 150 riders competed in the Grand Prix.
"I'm looking at an international field and we're stacking up. The fact that we were able to take those top spots is something that's noteworthy and also something that makes me happy," Jankowski said. "That was our goal, to not give up any of those top [podium] spots. We wanted to be the top riders here and I think all our U.S. riders proved that they are."
The excitement continues Saturday night in Breckenridge with the Paul Mitchell Progression Session. Riders will compete in a night "Pipestyle" exhibition, showcasing their skills in a halfpipe lined with boxes and rails. The top five riders will advance to finals where one will win the Rip it Trick of the Day.
CHEVROLET U.S. SNOWBOARDING GRAND PRIX
Breckenridge, CO - Dec. 15, 2007
1. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 45.3
2. Kelly Clark, Mount Snow, VT, 42.6
3. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 41.9
4. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT, 39.4
5. Soko Yamaoka, Japan, 32.5
6. Kait Farrington, Bellevue, ID, 29.7
7. Anne Pellissier, France, 27.6
8. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 26.1
1. Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 48.4
2. Steven Fisher, Breckenridge, CO, 47.8
3. Elijah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 44.5
4. Keir Dillon, Carlsbad, CA, 44.3
5. Kevin Pearce, Norwich, VT, 44.2
6. Brad Martin, Canada, 43.4
7. Luke Mitrani, Scottsdale, AZ, 40.9
8. Ryoh Aono, Japan, 40.1
9. Gary Zebrowski, France, 39.7
10. J.J. Thomas, Golden, CO, 39
11. Dol Wal Van Der, Netherlands, 36.6
12. Tore-V. Holvik, Norway, 36.6
13. Justin Lamoureux, Canada, 34.7
14. Crispi Lipscomb, Canada, 33.5
15. Kohdai Watanabe, Japan, 20.8
16. Jack Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 17.2