Another strong result for Steamboat’s Dierdorff but no Olympic resolution | SteamboatToday.com

Another strong result for Steamboat’s Dierdorff but no Olympic resolution

The Olympic torch blazes in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Strong result or short of the goal? It was a debate again Friday for Steamboat Springs snowboard cross rider Mick Dierdorff, who placed ninth in a World Cup in Cervinia, Italy.

Entering this season, Dierdorff had landed just three top-10 finishes in World Cups in 36 World Cup starts.

He hadn't scored any in the previous 12 World Cup starts.

This season, however, it's been nothing but top-10 finishes, and Friday offered another, his fourth in a row. He qualified in fourth place then placed second in his first four-man heat, advancing to the quarterfinals. His run ended there when he finished third in his heat.

Dierdorff said after an event last week he's aiming to land a podium finish, a requirement to earn an automatic spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Only one American has done that so far, Jonathan Cheever, earlier this season. He placed 17th in Friday's race, but with only one qualifying opportunity remaining, has likely secured his spot on the team.

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Alex Deibold was just short for the United States, placing fourth. Hagen Kearney was fifth, Senna Leith 13th, Jake Vedder 16th, Nate Holland 21st, Cole Johnson 30th, Nick Baumgartner 44th, Seth Wescott 46th and Robert Minghini 52nd.

Dierdorff is currently the top-ranked American in the seasonlong World Cup standings, sitting in sixth place overall, but limited to the U.S. team’s official qualifying events, which omits his best single result, he’s in third among his countrymen.

The final of five qualifying events is set for Jan. 19 to 20 in Erzurum, Turkey and that event will decide everything. At least seven U.S. riders will head into the event vying for two or perhaps three Olympic spots.