STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. - A Hurricane in Vancouver? Speedy Peterson says, yes, it might happen.
Peterson, who pumped up the sport of freestyle aerials with the patented quintuple-twisting jump he calls the Hurricane, won Olympic trials yesterday to seal his spot in Vancouver come February.
He'll be joined by Lacy Schnoor, who took advantage of falls from America's top two female jumpers - Jana Lindsey and Emily Cook - to earn her first Olympic trip.
The star of the day, though, was Peterson, the renegade who tried the Hurricane with middling results four years ago in Italy. He finished seventh that night, but insisted he was satisfied because doing that jump was the bigger goal than winning an Olympic medal.
"With Torino, maybe I shouldn't have gone for the Hurricane, maybe I should've stepped it down and gone for the podium," he said. "But that's not my personality. I'm still going for it and I'm going to give it my best every single day. It's the only way I know how to do things."
He's making no guarantees about what he'll do in Vancouver. And at this point in the season, he said the Hurricane is simply not ready.
So on a frigid day in Steamboat, with an Olympic spot on the line, Peterson did a pair of quadruple-twisting jumps and landed them both to post a winning score of 258.21. That was nearly 27 points better than runner-up Dylan Ferguson.
This is Peterson's third Olympics. Making the trip, he said, never gets old.
"It's a lot more pressure than it's ever been before," Peterson said. "I know I'm not 21 anymore. I'm 28 and I'm not going to do this until I'm 60. It's getting down to the wire and I'm doing everything I can to get on that podium."
Not feeling the same pressure was Ryan St. Onge, one of America's top jumpers who was ranked second in the world in 2009. St. Onge had a narrow lead over Peterson after the first jump, but tried only three twists on the second, then fell on the landing, and finished in third place.
"I'm really focused on the Olympic Games and peaking at that point in the season," St. Onge said. "I'm just taking it very slow, working on bringing up the degree of difficulty. I knew on that last jump there was no way for me to win."
St. Onge, like everyone other than Peterson and Schnoor, can still make the Olympic team with good performances in World Cup events over the next month.
Schnoor, the 24-year-old from Draper, Utah, won thanks in part to a triple-twisting jump that she practiced on snow for the first time the day before the event.
"I still can't believe it," Schnoor said. "I thought I had a 50-50 chance. I'm glad I'm going."
Speedskating sponsor. The sponsor of a Japanese speedskating team has pledged $219,054 to any of its athletes who win a gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics.
Nidec Sankyo Corp., an electronic component maker that runs a speedskating team, has doubled its prize from the 2006 Turin Games, team boss Shigehara Arai said yesterday.
"I want it to be enough to build a splendid home," Nidec president Kazuyoshi Yasukawa told the Yomiuri newspaper.
Speedskaters employed by Nidec include Japanese ace Joji Kato, a former world record holder and world champion in the men's 500 meters, and Sayuri Yoshii, who was ninth in the women's 500 in Turin.
Nidec will also pay a $109,527 bonus for a silver medal and $65,716 for a bronze.
Yasukawa is putting up half of the prize money himself, with the company providing the rest.