Neither two-time Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott of Carrabassett Valley nor fellow 2010 Olympian Nick Baumgartner advanced beyond the quarterfinals of Friday’s Snowboarder X competition at the Winter X Games in Boulder, Colo.
But Baumgartner said later in the day that he had been selected to the U.S. Olympic team in men’s snowboardcross as a discretionary pick of team coaches, according to USA Today, likely based on being the only American to post three to 10 finishes in World Cup races that doubled as U.S. Olympic team selection events.
The U.S. Olympic team is expected to be nominated by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association on Saturday.
The Winter X Games wasn’t an official selection race, but Wescott and Baumgartner were hoping to use a strong performance Friday to boost their potential for receiving a discretionary selection to the U.S. Olympic team in men’s snowboardcross.
But both competitors were involved in in-race collisions during their separate quarterfinal heats, and each ultimately finished fifth — Wescott in 56.502 seconds and Baumgartner in 1:08.953.
“It wasn’t much of a showing,” Wescott told ESPN3 after his race. “I’ve known since April 24 that this was going to be a tough turnaround, and having two weeks to qualify was tough.
“I felt like I was getting back up to speed, but it just wasn’t enough today. It’s discretion. We’ll see.”
Three other competitors, Nate Holland, Trevor Jacob and Alex Deibold, already had earned spots on the U.S. team through their top-four performances during World Cup races that doubled as U.S. Olympic selection events.
Baumgartner, who had two sixth-place finishes and an eighth in his last three selection races, and Wescott, on the comeback trail after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last April, were considered the top candidates for a discretionary selection to the team.
Wescott had raced twice at recent World Cup events in Andorra during his comeback, finishing 49th and 31st, while Baumgartner is the lone American to compile three top-10 World Cup finishes this season.
Holland went on the win the Winter X Games competition, posting a time of 52.049 seconds in the final to defeat second-place Alex Tuttle of Stratton. Tuttle led early in the final, then faded to third place before rallying for the silver medal in 52.419 seconds.