Veteran U.S. snowboarders topped the qualification round for the halfpipe event at an International Ski Federation (FIS) competition here on Friday.
Shaun White, who holds the X-Game records for most gold medals and highest overall medal count, finished first in the men's halfpipe qualification round at the FIS Snowboard World Cup in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul. The FIS World Cup is one of the test events for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
White, two-time Olympic champion, led 33 freestyle snowboarders with 93.25 points. He was the only one to collect more than 90 points at Phoenix Snow Park.
Another U.S. snowboarder Chase Josey was second at 89.50 points, followed by China's Zhang Yiwei, who had 89.50.
None of the six South Korean snowboarders qualified for the 10-man halfpipe final slated for Sunday. Kweon Lee-jun had the best result among South Koreans at 13th place with 70.25 points.
In the halfpipe, where athletes show tricks as they go from side to side on a semicircular ramp, each competitor performs two times and the highest score from the two runs is the competitor's final score.
On the women's side, Kelly Clark won the qualification with a score of 92.75 points. She was followed by two Chinese competitors Liu Jiayu and Cai Xuetong.
Clark, the 2002 Olympic champion and the bronze medalists at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games, was the only female snowboarder who surpassed 90 points in both runs. The 33-year-old American had 91.25 in her first action and 92.75 on her second attempt.
Chloe Kim, a Korean-American snowboarding prodigy, finished fourth. Kim, currently the World Cup leader in freestyle snowboarding, scored only 71.25 points in her first run, but collected 85.25 points on her second try.
Another U.S. snowboarder Maddie Mastro and Japan's Kurumi Imai also qualified for Sunday's halfpipe final, where six women will compete for medals.
South Korea failed to produce finalists in the women's competition as Kwon Sun-woo and Jeong Yu-rim finished 19th and 20th, respectively. (Yonhap)