Park City Halfpipe – twelve men finalist determined
Chinese rider to qualify in first position
That's a result not many people might have bet on.
Yiwei Zhang, an up- and coming talent from China earned the highest score in today's men's qualifiers for the season's third halfpipe World Cup event.
The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix kicked off with two qualifier heats in Park City this morning, and an impressive performance of Zhang.
The 20-years-old took 88.30 points in his first of two runs, thus edging off super star Shaun White (USA) to second with 87.30 points.
Luke Mitrani (USA, 84) and Gregory Bretz (USA, 83.60) were the other two riders from heat 1 to directly qualify for the finals.
In heat two, also three US athletes advanced.
In first and with 85 points Louie Vito (USA), followed by his team mates Ben Ferguson (USA, 83) and Zachary Black (USA, 81.30).
Scott James (AUS, 80) sneaked also through to the finals as fourth ranked after the qualifiers.
The other four remaining seats for the finals of the top-12 men – staged Friday, Feb 1, at 11 AM MT (7 PM CET) – were determined in a semi final where 12 competitors got their second chance.
Jumping at the chance were: Taylor Gold (USA), Scott Lago (USA) and the only two Europeans to drop in the finals Ben Kilner (GBR) and Dimi de Jong (NED).