Greg Bretz and Elena Hight have been named as the final two members of the US Olympic halfpipe squad. After two seriously fiercely fought qualifying contests over the weekend, the newcomer Bretz was left equal on qualifying points with two other riders – the much-fancied Frends crew member Luke Mitrani and the veteran JJ Thomas, leaving US Olympic organisers facing a tough choice.
In the end however, they plumped for Mammoth Mountain local Bretz, whose smooth double corks and podium place over the weekend probably helped. On the women’s side, the choice of Elena Hight as the final rider in the four person halfpipe squad was a little bit more inevitable, as she had the fourth highest points score at the end of the qualifying series.
Strangely (or perhaps not so strangely) the women’s Olympic halfpipe squad of Kelly Clark, Gretchen Bleiler, Hannah Teter and Elena Hight will now be exactly the same as the one that dominated at the 2006 Olympics in Turin. Hight was just sixteen at the time of the last Olympics, but still finished sixth overall.
The complete men’s US Olympic halfpipe line-up Shaun White, Louie Vito, Scotty Lago, and Greg Bretz. For those of you who don’t know the outsider Bretz, it may be worth having a look at his recent video profile on GrindTV here – or watching this video below of him riding in one of the final two Park City qualifiers over the weekend. This video makes you realise why they picked him…