Eileen Gu gets halfpipe win on road to Beijing Olympics

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. (AP) — Eileen Gu won the U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe contest Friday, setting up a chance to sweep all three freeskiing disciplines in the span of less than a month en route to the Olympics.

Gu, who was born in San Francisco but will compete for her mother’s home country of China at the Beijing Games next year, is in the mix to become the first action-sports athlete to win three gold medals at the same games.

She won the big air contest in Steamboat last week, and is expected to compete in slopestyle and halfpipe at the Dew Tour next week. Defending Olympic champion Cassie Sharpe of Canada finished sixth.

The Grand Prix served as the second of six qualifying events in a competitive race for spots on the U.S. Olympic halfpipe team. Brita Sigourney and Hanna Faulhaber finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Sigourney, who finished third at a Grand Prix last winter, is the only American woman with a podium after the first two events.

On the men’s side, 2018 Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira notched a victory that all but wraps up his spot on the U.S. team.

“There was so much on the line and we’re all fighting for opportunities to get to Beijing,” Ferreira said. “It was a roller coaster of emotions this morning, but I’m super grateful to get here on the podium.”

Two-time defending Olympic champion David Wise finished seventh, and is still looking for a podium, while 2019 world champion Aaron Blunck struggled with windy conditions and didn’t finish any of his three runs. Blunck won the opening qualifying event last winter, which gives him an inside track at one of the three men’s spots.

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