Scotty James & Kelly Clark Win Olympic Test Event In South Korea

Shaun White narrowly misses out on halfpipe victory

It was a good weekend for halfpipe riders Scotty James and Kelly Clark; at South Korea’s Bokwang Phoenix Park, they took the top spots in this winter’s final FIS Halfpipe World Cup contest.

With the Winter Olympics taking place at the same venue in one year’s time, the event doubled up as a dry run for the five-ring circus. A lot can happen in twelve months, but these test events are a decent indicator of who’s in the running for a medal.

By all accounts the pipe was in good condition, despite some warm weather and even a little rain. Hopefully this means that the South Koreans are on track to avoid the horrorshow that was the Sochi halfpipe, a slush-tastic mess that barely made the grade.

Is Kelly Clark on track to win a second Olympic gold, sixteen years after her first? Photo: FIS

“Even in the twilight of her competitive career, Kelly Clark is capable of batting away the competition with ease”

It’s no surprise to see Aussie favourite Scotty James on the top step again – at the 2017 X Games he showed that he’s up there with the biggest names in the discipline. Not only did he win this standalone event, he also took home the overall FIS World Cup trophy (having earned the most ‘Race Points’ – seriously, FIS, would it be that hard to change how you name your scoring system for freestyle events?)

A Kelly Clark victory isn’t much of a shock either; even in the twilight of her competitive career she’s capable of batting away the competition with ease. The overall title wasn’t to be hers, however; despite failing to get on the podium at this event, Chloe Kim did enough to top the standings.

I rode for two days and then went for shopping in Seoul, then rode qualifying and went back to shop in Seoul. So, I am really tired” – Shaun White

Naturally, a lot of attention came Shaun White‘s way. Despite going home empty-handed from Sochi and announcing a sort-of retirement, he’s clearly still gunning for a third Olympic medal. On another day his score of 95 might have handed him victory, but this time Scotty was just too good.

Scotty, Shaun & Yiwei Zhang on the podium. Photo: FIS

After last year’s US Open and now this, only a fool would write him off – but while his halfpipe run remains impeccably polished, his post-event interviews still need some work:

The truth is, I rode for two days and then went for shopping in Seoul, then rode qualifying and went back to shop in Seoul. So, I am really tired. By the time I got to my last hit my back leg kinda gave out.

So, I’m just disappointed of myself although it’s super nice suits I got. So, I hope there is less shopping next time and taking it more serious. But anyway, Scotty had a great run with four magical hits.”

Can a fully-focused El Blanco win in 2018? We’ll soon find out.

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.