Bloomington native Keri Herman locked up a spot on the U.S. Olympic team Saturday, finishing second in a slopestyle freeskiing event at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City, Utah, and earning an automatic berth in the Sochi Olympics.
Herman, 31, earned a score of 91.20 points on her first run and 91.80 on her second in her sport’s final Olympic selection event. Fellow American Julia Krass surpassed her with a score of 92.60 on the second run to win.
Devin Logan also has clinched a place on the Olympic freeskiing team.
Herman, who won the third selection event in Breckenridge, Colo., last week, was assured of an Olympic berth with a finish on the podium at Park City. She was the only athlete to earn scores of 90 points or more on both her runs Saturday.
Freeskiing will make its Olympic debut in Sochi and includes two disciplines, halfpipe and slopestyle. In slopestyle, athletes make flipping, twisting jumps and slide down rails as they ski down the course.
Last season, Herman became the first American to win the World Cup championship in women’s slopestyle.
In the men’s event, Alex Harvey of Canada won ahead of Josef Wenzl of Germany and France’s Baptiste Gros.
Sage Kotsenburg of Park City, Utah, threw down a winning score of 95.4 on the first run Saturday and wrapped up his spot on the U.S. Olympic slopestyle ski team with a long-awaited victory in the season’s last qualifying event in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
“I was like, ‘I don’t care if I do go or if I don’t,’ ” said Kotsenburg, 20. “I wanted to leave the politics and statistics aside and just go snowboarding. That’s what we’re here for, not for a points race.”
He’ll be in Sochi with Shaun White, who wrapped up his slopestyle spot Thursday. White is expected to ride Sunday in the halfpipe contest, where he still needs a top result to guarantee himself a chance at winning a third-place medal.
Jamie Anderson won the women’s contest, making it 3-for-3 this week in Mammoth. She had secured her Olympic spot with her two victories Thursday.
Skeleton team chosen
Katie Uhlaender and Noelle Pikus-Pace were the women’s nominees to the U.S. Olympic skeleton team, with the men’s roster spots going to Matt Antoine, John Daly and Kyle Tress.
The announcement largely was a formality, since those five sliders have primarily been the American competitors on the World Cup circuit throughout this season.
Pikus-Pace, Antoine and Daly automatically qualified for the team. Uhlaender and Tress were discretionary selections.
It’s the third Olympics for Uhlaender, who was sixth at the Turin Games in 2006, 11th at Vancouver four years ago and has been dealing with aftereffects of a concussion since an early season training mishap.
Pikus-Pace is going to the Olympics for the second time; she was a gold-medal favorite in 2006 before having her leg shattered when a bobsled crashed into her.
Randall sprints to cross-country victory
Kikkan Randall won her second consecutive freestyle sprint event on the cross-country World Cup in Poland, underlining her status as a medal favorite in Sochi.
The American held off Denise Herrmann on the final straightaway in following up on her victory in the Czech Republic a week ago.
Randall, last season’s sprint World Cup champion, said that “coming to the finish I actually had lots of energy in my legs because my big move for the win was on the home stretch.”