Skiers, snowboarder keep focus on snow despite “open question” on U.S. Olympic participation |

Skiers, snowboarder keep focus on snow despite “open question” on U.S. Olympic participation

Jason Blevins
The Denver Post
Avon local Taylor Seaton enjoys some time off his skis at the U.S. Grand Prix World Cup halfpipe competition Wednesday.
Hugh Carey/Summit Daily

COPPER MOUNTAIN — As the best snowboarders and skiers in the world kicked off their quest to reach the South Korea Olympics next year, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley suggested that the United States’ participation in the Winter Olympics is “an open question.”

“What does that mean?” said superstar snowboarder Shaun White, shortly before dropping into the Copper Mountain halfpipe for the first U.S. Olympic qualifier on his push to compete in his fourth Olympics. “There’s always drama. In Brazil, it was Zika and Russia was all the laws against homosexuality and all the other things. Italy was after 9-11 and people were kind of tripping out. Canada was pretty mellow though. And now it’s North Korea. I’ve always felt safe.”

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Haley suggested it was not certain that the U.S. would send athletes to South Korea in February. She cited escalating tensions in the region with North Korea testing increasingly powerful missiles. She rekindled simmering concerns about safety for the athletes in South Korea’s PyeongChang, which is 50 miles from the North Korean border.

On Thursday afternoon, however, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the U.S. “looks forward to participating” in the Winter Olympics. She tweeted that update minutes after saying at a briefing that no official decision had been made.

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