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Sunday, January 6
Updated: January 8, 1:50 PM ET
Rider Ross Powers wins Grand Prix halfpipe

Associated Press

BEND, Ore. -- Halfpipe rider Ross Powers, a bronze medalist when snowboarding made its Olympic debut in 1998, clinched his second Olympic berth Sunday, winning win the Grand Prix halfpipe at Mount Bachelor by 0.4 points.

Powers, of South Londonderry, Vt., had 45.2 points on his first ride in intermittent rain to earn $10,000 and edge Andy Finch of Fresno, Calif., who earned 44.8 points on each run from the judges. Tommy Czeschin of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., was third.

"Locking up an Olympic spot really takes a lot of pressure off because now I can concentrate on my riding and getting better," Powers said.

"I definitely feel that competing in '98 will be an advantage. I know what to expect and how to handle all the attention at the Olympics."

Another Vermonter, former world junior champion Kelly Clark of Mount Snow, won the women's event with 46.9 points. She collected $10,000, too. Gretchen Bleiler of Snowmass, Colo., finished second and Tricia Byrnes of New Canaan, Conn., was third.

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