Two of America’s leading Olympic stars, Shaun White and Lolo Jones, booked their tickets to Sochi this week.
White finished atop the podium in the final U.S. halfpipe qualifier on Sunday, and quickly announced he would skip the X Games in order to rest for the Olympics.
Former trackstar Jones was also selected for the Sochi team, completing her highly publicized transformation from hurdler to bobsledder.
White, the 27-year-old superstar, travels to Sochi in search of his historic third consecutive gold medal. White began last week's qualifying event with a serious crash during Thursday’s slopestyle training run. He bounced back, however, and went on finish first in both the slopestyle and halfpipe events in Mammoth, California.
Jones’s Olympic berth wasn’t settled by a podium finish, but instead by a six person committee on Sunday night. The committee made its decision after considering World Cup and push championship results, and also accepted input from the team’s drivers. Lauryn Williams, a two-time Olympic medalist in track, was also selected for the team. During the summer of 2013, Jones reportedly urged Williams to try bobsledding during a track meet.
The Sochi games begin on Friday, February 7.
UPDATE: January 22, 2014
Shaun White changed his mind on Monday and will now compete in the 2014 Winter X Games.
After a fall and eventual first place finish in an Olympic qualifying event last week, White said he planned to skip the X Games to rest. ESPN, an event sponsor, announced on Tuesday morning that the X Games heavyweight will in fact compete in the halfpipe and slopestyle events.
Shaun White has won 18 Winter X Games medals since his debut in 2000. This year's games begin on January 23 in Aspen, Colorado.
UPDATE: January 23, 2014
After arriving in Aspen, and even taking a training run, Shaun White decided on Wednesday that he would not participate in the Winter X Games, again.
Concerned with his schedule, White doesn’t believe he’ll have enough time to train for the Olympics if he competes in Aspen.
''It's an incredibly tough decision for me and it's not something I take lightly… But I have to make sure I'm prepared for the Olympics," explained the X Games superstar.
White's focus now shifts to slopestyle qualifying on February 6, a day before the Opening Ceremonies.