Freestyle skier Emily Cook is going to her third Olympics after landing a spot on the United States team Tuesday. (Harry How / Getty Images)
Freestyle skier Emily Cook is going to her third Olympics after landing a spot on the United States team Tuesday.
The 34-year-old aerialist finished 19th at the 2010 Games and 11th in 2006. She also was nominated to the 2002 team but missed because of an injury. She was given a spot on this year’s freestyle team after the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association went through dozens of calculations and possibilities.
“I am so excited to be representing Team USA at my third Olympic Games in Sochi,” Cook said. “It has been a long road since my first team nomination in 2002.
“I am incredibly thankful to everyone who helped me navigate the ups and downs of this journey.”
Several spots are awarded based on how athletes finish in qualifying events. A few are held out for those who don’t qualify but are still considered potential medalists based on their history and current performances. Cook got one of the discretionary picks, in part because she has finished in the top 10 and been the top American finisher in the last four World Cup events.
“To have Emily in the Olympic Games as a three-time Olympian gives the whole program great leadership,” USSA freestyle director Todd Schirman said. “When Emily nails her jumps, they’re the best jumps on the hill.”
Also on the aerials team is Ashley Caldwell, who finished 10th at the 2010 Games. She’s one of five women in the world, Schirman said, who try triple-flipping jumps.
Cook and Caldwell are the only two women among the world’s top 12 who aren’t from either Australia or China.
Another discretionary spot on the freestyle team went to halfpipe skier and three-time X Games medalist Torin Yater-Wallace, who broke his ribs while training but is expected to be healthy for Sochi.
Also added to the team Tuesday were Annalisa Drew (halfpipe), Joss Christensen (men’s slopestyle), Julia Krass and 15-year-old Maggie Voisin (women’s slopestyle). John Teller earned a skicross spot by winning a World Cup event last week.
Simon Dumont, one of the most decorated veterans on the halfpipe, was left off the team after hurting his knee.
Left off the aerials team was two-time national champion Dylan Ferguson. Mac Bohonnon is going.
White in X Games
Shaun White is heading to the Winter X Games after all. The two-time Olympic halfpipe gold medalist informed ESPN he plans to compete in Aspen, Colo., this weekend. White said initially he was skipping the annual event to rest for Sochi.