BONGPYEONG, South Korea — In the world’s most competitive halfpipe snowboarding contest Wednesday — Tuesday evening Pacific time — Bend riders will make up about 17 percent of the field.
Ben Ferguson and Kent Callister, snowboarders from Bend, both qualified for the 12-rider men’s halfpipe final during the qualifiers Tuesday at the 2018 Winter Games.
Ferguson, 23 and competing for the United States in his first Olympics, started off strong, showing huge amplitude and a dizzying array of technical tricks on his first run, which scored a 91. That gave him a fourth-place finish and a spot in the final. Ferguson scored an 89.75 on his second run.
Callister, competing for Australia, finished 12th with a score of 77 on his second run to just barely get into the final. He posted a 66.75 on his first run. Callister, 22, is competing in his second Olympics after finishing ninth in Sochi in 2014.
Each of the 29 riders in the qualifying event took two runs, with their best score counting.
Shaun White, the two-time Olympic gold medalist from the U.S., finished with the top qualifying score of 98.50, posted on his second run. As the leading qualifier, White will be the last rider to drop in the final.
Scotty James of Australia finished second with a score of 96.75, and Ayumu Hirano of Japan was third with a 95.25.
Hirano, the silver medalist in Sochi in 2014, won the Winter X Games last month with back-to-back 1440-degree double corks, a combination that had never been successfully landed in competition. White has said he is working on the same tricks, while James may have the most technically on-point package in the game. Ferguson won bronze at last month’s X Games and now will be looking to challenge for an Olympic medal.
The Olympic halfpipe final — in which each rider will take three runs — begins at 5:30 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday and is scheduled to be televised live by NBC.
All U.S. riders in the field qualified for the final, including Chase Josey (seventh) and Jake Pates (eighth).