February 12, 2006

White through at second attempt

By Mark Meadows

BARDONECCHIA, Italy (Reuters) - Favorite Shaun White made
it through to the men's Olympic halfpipe final at the second
attempt on Sunday having missed out in the first qualifying run
after landing badly on a jump.

The 19-year-old American atoned for his error by producing
the day's best display in the second qualifying round with the
final run of the session to be one of 12 boarders to make the

In the first run, 2002 silver medallist Danny Kass came top
to be among the first six riders to progress.

"I'm going to do the same run (in this afternoon's final),
just bigger and smoother. The conditions are great. The pipe is
really good," said the confident American.

World champion Antti Autti of Finland produced a storming
front side 1080 (1,080 degree spin) to qualify too along with
U.S. medal contenders Mason Aguirre and Andy Finch, Finland's
Risto Mattila and Germany's Christophe Schmidt.

In the second round, France's Gary Zebrowski, Finn Markku
Koski, German Vinzenz Lueps, Swiss Markus Keller and Canadian
Crispin Lipscomb joined White in qualifying for the final in
front of a three-quarters full grandstand.

Italian crowd favorite Giacomo Kratter just missed out.

The standard of the two runs was mixed, with the top riders
finding good height and pulling off several 1080s and other
tough tricks.

Many of the lesser-known competitors struggled, however,
with some falling after trying challenging jumps.