We’ve had a World Championship. We’ve had one of the multitude of X Games. We’re ready to do some medal projections …
Gold: Shaun White (USA). Two-time defending champion, six straight X Games Aspen titles … yeah, he’s the favorite.
Silver: Ayumu Hirano (Japan): 2013 Aspen runner-up. Oh, and he’s only 14.
Bronze: Iouri Podladtchikov (Switzerland): World champion. 2010 Oly fourth.
USA and Japan have depth. Also considered:
- Nathan Johnstone (Australia): 2011 World Cup halfpipe champion. 2013 World Cup leader. Seventh in 2013 Worlds.
- Peetu Piiroinen (Finland): 2010 Oly silver. 2013 Worlds eighth. Didn’t compete in this event in 2013 X Aspen; sixth in slopestyle.
- Markus Malin (Finland): 2013 Aspen third. 2013 Worlds third.
- Ryo Aono (Japan): Won World Cup event in New Zealand 2012. Fifth in 2013 Worlds.
- Christian Haller (Switzerland): 2013 Worlds fourth.
- Scotty Lago (USA): 2010 Oly bronze, 2011 Aspen second, 2013 Aspen fourth.
- Greg Bretz (USA): Competed in 2010 Oly at age 19, finishing 12th. 2013 Aspen fifth.
- Louie Vito (USA): 2010 Oly fifth. 2011 Aspen third. 2013 Aspen sixth.
Gold: Arielle Gold (USA): World champion at age 16. Third in Aspen 2013.
Silver: Torah Bright (Australia): 2010 Olympic champion. Fourth in Aspen 2013.
Bronze: Kelly Clark (USA): 2002 gold medalist also has 2010 bronze and the last three Aspen wins.
Any American who makes the squad is a contender. One wild-card country to watch for: China. Also considered:
- Holly Crawford (Australia): 2011 world champion; runner-up in 2009 and 2013. Eighth in 2010 Olympics.
- Sophie Rodriguez (France): Fifth in 2010 Oly. Third in 2013 Worlds.
- Queralt Castellet (Spain): Frequent X Games invitee. Injured in 2010 Olympics after good qualifying runs. Fifth in 2013 Worlds.
- Elena Hight (USA): Two-time Olympian is still in early 20s. Runner-up in Aspen 2012 and 2013.
- Hannah Teter (USA): 2006 gold medalist, 2010 silver medalist. Third in Aspen 2012; fifth in 2013.
- Gretchen Bleiler (USA): 2006 silver medalist. Four-time X Games winner. Fourth in Aspen 2012; did not compete due to injury rehab in 2013.
SLOPESTYLE (new Olympic event)
Gold: Mark McMorris (Canada): Aspen 2012 and 2013 champion (the latter with a record score of 98); 2013 Worlds runner-up. Still in his teens (until December).
Silver: Shaun White (USA): The bad news – only fifth at Aspen 2013. The good news – he’s Shaun White.
Bronze: Seppe Smits (Belgium): 2011 world champion; third at Aspen 2013.
- Maxence Parrot (Canada): Teen finished second to McMorris at Aspen 2013.
- Janne Korpi (Finland): Third at 2013 Worlds.
- Roope Tonteri (Finland): World champion in slopestyle and big air.
- Peetu Piiroinen (Finland): Sixth at Aspen 2013.
- Chas Guldemond (USA): Inconsistent January 2013: 11th at Worlds, fourth in Aspen.
Gold: Jamie Anderson (USA): Four-time X Games Aspen winner; seven Aspen podiums in eight years.
Silver: Spencer O’Brien (Canada): World champion. Third at Aspen 2013.
Bronze: Sarko Pancochova (Czech Republic): Aspen 2013 runner-up; 2011 Worlds runner-up.
- Torah Bright (Australia): Third in 2013 Worlds.
- Merika Enne (Finland): Fourth in 2013 Worlds.
- Enni Rukajarvi (Finland): 2011 world and Aspen champion. Aspen 2012 runner-up; fourth at Aspen 2013.
- Sina Candrian (Switzerland): 2013 Worlds runner-up. Fifth at Aspen 2013.
- Ty Walker (USA): Fifth in 2013 Worlds.
This is no longer an X Games event for some reason, and the World Championships don’t always draw the best riders. So this’ll be a crapshoot …
Gold: Alex Pullin (Switzerland): Two-time defending world champion. Also plays in a reggae band.
Silver: Seth Wescott (USA): Two-time defending Olympic champion. Second at 2011 Worlds. 25th at 2013 Worlds. World Cup win in December.
Bronze: Tony Ramoin (France): 2010 bronze medalist. Ninth at 2013 Worlds.
- Markus Schairer (Austria): 2009 world champion. Third in 2013 Worlds.
- Pierre Vaultier (France): Three-time World Cup champion. Fourth in 2013 Worlds.
- Omar Visintin (Italy): 2013 World Cup leader.
- Nick Baumgartner (USA): Seventh in 2013 Worlds, winning the “small final.”
- Nate Holland (USA): Perennial X Games winner until they removed this event. Fourth in 2010 Oly. Third at 2007 and 2011 Worlds.
2010 silver medalist Mike Robertson (Canada) has retired.
Gold: Maelle Ricker (Canada): Defending Olympic and world champion.
Silver: Dominique Maltais (Canada): 2012 Aspen winner, 2013 Worlds runner-up. 2006 bronze medalist. Three-time World Cup champion; leading in 2013.
Bronze: Lindsey Jacobellis (USA): Three-time world champion (2005, 2007, 2011); seven-time X Games champion. 2006 silver medalist. Yes, she fell on the board grab, blah blah blah. Still the sport’s all-time best. Through 57 World Cup events, she has 26 wins and 36 podiums. Can she come back from a knee injury?
- Deborah Anthonioz (France): 2010 silver medalist. Third in Aspen 2011.
- Olivia Nobs (Switzerland): 2010 bronze medalist.
(Abbreviations are PGS for parallel giant slalom and PS for parallel slalom. Parallel slalom is a new Olympic event.)
Gold: Benjamin Karl (Austria): 2013 world PGS champion; sixth in PS. Swept world titles in 2011. 2010 PGS silver medalist.
Silver: Roland Fischnaller (Italy): 2013 Worlds PGS runner-up; also third in PS. Third in 2011 Worlds PGS. Disappointing in three Olympics (best finish: 13th). Five World Cup PS wins.
Bronze: Zari Kosir (Slovenia): Sixth in 2010 Oly PGS. Fourth in 2013 Worlds PGS. Tied for first in 2013 World Cup PS standings.
Gold: Rok Marguc (Austria): 2013 PS world champion, finishing medal collection from 2011 (2nd PGS, 3rd PS).
Silver: Simon Schoch (Switzerland): 2006 silver medalist. 2011 world PS runner-up. 2007 world PS champion. Two podiums at 2003 Worlds: 2nd PGS, 3rd PS. In 2013: 5th PS, 6th PGS.
Bronze: Andreas Prommegger (Austria): 2012 World Cup parallel events champion; no worse than fourth in Cup standings since 2008. 2013 Worlds: 4th PS, 5th PGS. Ninth in 2006 and 2010 Games.
- Jasey-Jay Anderson (Canada): 2010 Oly PGS gold medalist. Pushing 40, with no World Cup podiums since 2010.
- Vic Wild (Russia): Third in 2013 Worlds PGS. As you can guess from the name, he grew up in the USA but changed his nationality after marriage. Only one World Cup podium.
- Justin Reiter (USA): 2013 PS Worlds runner-up, a stunning result for the 31-year-old with only one World Cup podium.
2010 Oly PGS bronze medalist Mathieu Bozzetto (France) has retired.
Gold: Isabella Labock (Germany): 2013 world PGS champion; sixth in PS. Five World Cup podiums.
Silver: Amelie Kober (Germany): 2006 Oly PGS silver medalist. 2010 Oly PGS quarterfinalist. Third in 2013 Worlds in both parallel events. Twelve World Cup wins, seven in PGS.
Bronze: Julia Dujmovits (Austria): 2013 Worlds PGS runner-up; 10th in PS. Two World Cup wins; 11 podiums.
Gold: Ekaterina Tudegesheva (Russia): 2013 world PS champion. 2007 world PGS champion. Fifth in 2006 Oly PGS. Ten World Cup wins.
Silver: Patrizia Kummer (Switzerland): 2013 Worlds PS runner-up. Third in 2009 Worlds PGS. Seven World Cup wins, six of them PS.
Bronze: Hilde-Katrine Engeli (Norway): Fourth in both 2013 Worlds events. 2011 PS world champion. No World Cup podiums.
- Marion Kreiner (Austria): 2010 Oly PGS bronze medalist. 2009 world PGS champion. 2007 world PS runner-up. Two World Cup wins; 18 podiums.
- Nicolien Sauerbreij (Netherlands): 2010 Oly PGS gold medalist. 2011 world PS runner-up. Will be 34 in Sochi. Six World Cup PGS wins, most recent in 2010.
- Ekaterina Ilyukhina (Russia): 2010 Oly PGS silver medalist. World Championship best: 11th. World Cup best: 3rd.
4: Austria, Canada, Switzerland
1: Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, Slovenia
Gold medal count
2: Austria, Canada
1: Germany, Russia, Switzerland