2010 Olympics Watch: U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team announced
January 26, 2010
PARK CITY, Utah and#8212; Snowboardcross standout Nate Holland of Squaw Valley USA was the only rider from Tahoeand#8217;s North Shore named to the 18-member 2010 U.S. Olympic Snowboarding Team.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association officially announced the team on Monday.
A five-time X Games gold medalist, Holland will be gunning for success after an unfortunate fall in the 2006 Games. Joining him on the talented menand#8217;s team is Seth Wescott of Sugarloaf, Maine,, Graham Watanabe of Sun Valley, Idaho, and Nick Baumgartner of Iron River, Mich.
and#8220;It was a huge battle to make this menand#8217;s boardercross team,and#8221; said U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley Foley. and#8220;Six different U.S. riders have already been on the World Cup podium this season, and only four of them make the Olympic Team. Vancouver is going to be an incredible fight for the podium, and our guys are ready for it.and#8221;
South Lake Tahoe snowboarding pioneer Shaun Palmerand#8217;s quest to participate in the Olympic Games at age 41 was denied when the team awarded Baumgartner the final snowboardcross spot.
The South Shore will be represented in the womenand#8217;s halfpipe, however, as Elena Hight was announced to the U.S. Olympic team along with part-time Meyers resident Hannah Teter.
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Hight, who was sixth at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, finished fourth in the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix standings with a best result of runner-up at Mammoth. The 20-year-old has been a consistent performer over the past several weeks with four top-five Grand Prix results and a Winter Dew Tour victory.
With Hight appointed to the team, the four womenand#8217;s halfpipe riders are the same as they were in 2006, when Kelly Clark of Mount Snow, Vt., Teter, and Gretchen Bleiler of Aspen, Colo., led a near-medal sweep in Italy. Clark has dominated the 2009-10 season thus far, winning four of five Grand Prix events.
The U.S. menand#8217;s halfpipe team is also loaded with experience and medal history, including 2006 Olympic gold medalist Shaun White.
Joining White is Louie Vito of Sandy, Utah, who has back-to-back double corks in his repertoire, and Scotty Lago of Seabrook, N.H., who is known for his big airs in the pipe. Greg Bretz of Mammoth, who has the coveted double cork in his bag as well, completes the menand#8217;s roster.
Truckeeand#8217;s Danny Davis would have qualified for the Olympic team with a fourth in the Grand Prix standings, but suffered back and pelvis injuries earlier this month that will keep him out of competition.
and#8220;We are going in to the 2010 Games with one of the strongest athletic lineups possible,and#8221; Foley said. and#8220;Weand#8217;re hoping to go into Vancouver and build on the successes we saw in 2006. This Team is in position to do great things.and#8221;
After winning four of five events at the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, White, who took the gold medal in 2006, has kept his stronghold on winning halfpipe events and will be a favorite in Vancouver.
and#8220;Shaun is truly an amazing competitor,and#8221; said U.S. Snowboarding halfpipe head coach Mike Jankowski. and#8220;After winning in 2006 he has been nonstop and has played a huge role in the progression halfpipe has seen in these past four years.and#8221;
In the womenand#8217;s snowboardcross field, Lindsey Jacobellis of Stratton Mountain, Vt., who earned silver in 2006, has taken win after win in the four years leading up to the 2010 Games and looks strong going in to Vancouver. Joining Jacobellis are Olympic newcomers Faye Gulini of Salt Lake City and Callan Chythlook-Sifsof of Girdwood, Alaska.
The Alpine racers finalize the Olympic Snowboarding Team, led by 2006 Olympian Tyler Jewell (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), who came out on top of the team selection process.
Two-time Olympian and 2002 bronze medalist Chris Klug (Aspen, Colo.) joins Jewell for the men. He notched two top-eight results on the World Cup this season to grab his third team spot and was on the original Olympic Team in 1998 for the sportand#8217;s debut. Bostonand#8217;s Michelle Gorgone, who also competed in 2006, will represent the U.S. for the women.
and#8220;Klugand#8217;s hard work and perseverance have really paid off,and#8221; Foley said. and#8220;What an amazing accomplishment it is for him to make the Olympic teams in and#8216;98, and 2002, then miss the team in 2006, and now comeback and make the team again in 2010.and#8221;
(name, hometown, age as of opening ceremonies, birthdate, (past Olympics))
Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, 19, 12/19/1990
Scotty Lago, Seabrook, N.H., 22, 11/12/1987
Louie Vito, Sandy, Utah, 21, 3/20/1988
Shaun White, Carlsbad, Calif., 23, 9/3/1986 (2006)
Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, Colo., 28, 04/10/1981 (2006)
Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, Vt., 26, 07/26/1983 (2002, 2006)
Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, 20, 08/17/1989 (2006)
Hannah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, 23, 01/27/1987 (2006)
Nick Baumgartner, Iron River, Mich., 28, 12/17/1981
Nate Holland, Squaw Valley, 31, 11/8/1978 (2006)
Graham Watanabe, Sun Valley, Idaho, 27, 03/19/1982 (2006)
Seth Wescott, Sugarloaf, Maine, 33, 06/28/1976 (2006)
Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, Girdwood, Alaska, 24, 04/17/1985
Faye Gulini, Salt Lake City, 17, 03/24/1992
Lindsey Jacobellis, Stratton Mountain, Vt., 24, 08/19/1985 (2006)
Tyler Jewell, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 32, 02/21/1977 (2006)
Chris Klug, Aspen, Colo., 37, 11/18/1972 (1998, 2002)
Michelle Gorgone, Boston, 26, 10/18/1983 (2006)