Finch returns from Olympics, shakes off injuries | SierraSun.com
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Finch returns from Olympics, shakes off injuries

Photo by Mark Duncan/APTruckee resident Andy Finch crashes on his first run in the finals of the men's halfpipe competition during the Winter Games in Torino on Feb. 12. Finch aggravated an already bruised foot and broke his wrist on the fall.
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In spite of competing with an injured foot, then suffering a broken wrist in his qualifying run, Olympic snowboarder and Truckee resident Andy Finch said his Torino experience is one he’ll always remember.

“I was stoked about being there,” Finch said last Wednesday while being treated at Incline Village Community Hospital Physical Therapy and Sports Performance. “I mean I was at the Olympics, and even though I was hurt, I made the finals. I really can’t complain. It was great.”

Finch said he felt proud to represent his country at the Olympics opening ceremony.



“There really was a patriotic feeling marching into the stadium. It was pretty humbling,” Finch said. “At 24, I feel incredibly fortunate to be in this spot. I’m living life. I’m living it to its fullest, and experiencing the opening ceremony was part of that. And all the people were great.”

Finch injured himself the week before the Olympics while practicing for the X-Games in Aspen, Colo.



“I tweaked my foot during practice and couldn’t compete so I decided to take it easier when I got to Italy and save myself for the competition,” he said. “It didn’t matter because at first, I just couldn’t ride. I tried but I couldn’t because of my foot was bothering me.”

Finch said that when he was finally able to take some runs he stayed very conservative.

“I did, like, maybe two tricks total for three runs, but mostly I just ran straight airs and cold turkeyed on the final run,” Finch said. “It was amazing because even without the tricks, I still was in the top 12 qualifiers.”

But the injury jinx hit him again as he was participating in a qualifying run.

Even though he advanced to the finals with the fourth-best score on the first qualifying run Feb. 14, he fell on his first finals run, aggravating an injured left foot.

And then tragedy struck again.

“I broke my wrist,” he said.

Finch ended up with a 12th-place finish in the men’s halfpipe.

Through it all, he had lots of support.

“I had about a dozen family members at my events,” he said. “Even some relatives on my mom’s side who live in Torino (were there).”

The Olympics may be over for Finch but his schedule keeps on moving as he heads to his hometown of Fresno, Calif. for an appearance before leaving for Norway. In Norway Finch will compete in the Arctic Challenge, an international snowboard event, as one of 10 invited snowboarders from around the world.

“We’ll also go to the north area for surfing. It’s another one of my passions,” said Finch, who owns a home in Morro Bay, Calif. “I could snowboard all year around the world if I wanted to, but I really enjoy surfing and that’s what I love to do during the summer.”

As for whether he wants to head to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, Finch said he’s hesitant ” mainly because of the way snowboarding was broadcast on television.

“I really didn’t like the way the event was shot,” he said. “There were way too many close-ups of the competitors. That takes away from the scope of how skilled the riders are. Shots like that are called ‘guy and sky’ by the competitors and they’re really boring and really don’t show off the sport.”

Finch said he will take away many memories from his Olympic experience, but was particularly in awe of the volunteer force that looked over the various venues.

“There were over 35,000 people who volunteered and it was just incredible to see how hard they worked and how pleasant they were,” Finch said. “The key to the whole Olympic experience for me was the people and they were all just great. I felt honored to be a part of it all.”


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