U.S. Olympic snowboard team named
PARK CITY, UT (Jan. 25) – Olympic gold medalists Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA), Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT), Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT), and Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME) each highlight a talent-filled roster as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced the 2010 Olympic Snowboarding Team Monday.
USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt, together with the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team partner Visa, announced the roster of 18 athletes to compete in the snowboard events at Cypress Mountain in Vancouver.
"We are going in to the 2010 Games with one of the strongest athletic lineups possible," U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley said. "We're hoping to go into Vancouver and build on the successes we saw in 2006. This Team is in position to do great things."
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.
"Shaun is truly an amazing competitor. After winning in 2006 he has been non-stop and has played a huge role in the progression halfpipe has seen in these past four years," U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski said.
Joining White is a lineup of talented riders with unique style, including Louie Vito (Sandy, UT), who has back to back double corks in his repertoire and Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) who reaches mesmerizing heights with each hit in the halfpipe. Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, CA) who has the coveted double cork in his bag as well, completes the men's roster.
Danny Davis (Detroit, MI) would have qualified for the Olympic team with a fourth in the Grand Prix standings, but suffered an injury earlier this month that will keep him out of competition.
On the women's side of things, the Olympic Team will be comprised of the same talent it featured in 2006.
Clark also won four of the five Grand Prix stops to make the team, and has been using her time to lock down new tricks that she plans to add to her run as she looks for success in Vancouver.
Filling out the women's roster, Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO), Teter, and 2006 Olympian Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, CA) all bring the Olympic experience and heavy-hitting tricks to make the grade at Cypress Mountain.
Defending snowboardcross champ Wescott fills out one of the most talented SBX men's teams making its way to Vancouver.
"It was a huge battle to make this men's SBX team. Six different U.S. riders have already been on the World Cup podium this season, and only four of them make the Olympic Team," Foley said. "Vancouver is going to be an incredible fight for the podium, and our guys are ready for it."
Five-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA) is gunning for success after an unfortunate fall in the 2006 Games. After getting a surprise shot at being an Olympian in 2006, Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley, ID) is prepared for 2010, toting World Cup wins and an X Games silver medal on his way in. And, joining the seasoned Olympians is World Championship bronze medalist Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI).
In the women's SBX field, Lindsey Jacobellis (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 and solid contenders Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City) and Callan Chythlook-Sifsof (Girdwood, AK).
Finalizing the Olympic Snowboarding Team are the alpine racers, who are led by 2006 Olympian Tyler Jewell (Steamboat Springs, CO), who came out on top of the team selection process.
Two-time Olympian and 2002 bronze medalist Chris Klug (Aspen, CO) 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 sport's debut. Michelle Gorgone (Boston), who also competed in 2006, will represent the U.S. for the women.
"Klug’s hard work and perseverance have really paid off," Foley said. "What an amazing accomplishment it is for him to make the Olympic teams in 98, and 2002, then miss the team in 2006, and now comeback and make the team again in 2010."
Snowboarding kicks off with the men's SBX on Feb. 15.
The Team is subject to final review by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
2010 U.S. OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDING TEAM
(name, hometown, age as of opening ceremonies, birthdate, (past Olympics))
Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 19, 12/19/1990
Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 22, 11/12/1987
Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 21, 3/20/1988
Shaun White, Carlsbad, CA, 23, 9/3/1986 (2006)
Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 28, 04/10/1981 (2006)
Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 26, 07/26/1983 (2002, 2006)
Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 20, 08/17/1989 (2006)
Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT, 23, 01/27/1987 (2006)
Nick Baumgartner, Iron River, MI, 28, 12/17/1981
Nate Holland, Squaw Valley, CA, 31, 11/8/1978 (2006)
Graham Watanabe, Sun Valley, ID, 27, 03/19/1982 (2006)
Seth Wescott, Sugarloaf, ME, 33, 06/28/1976 (2006)
Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, Girdwood, AK, 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, CO, 32, 02/21/1977 (2006)
Chris Klug, Aspen, CO, 37, 11/18/1972 (1998, 2002)
Michelle Gorgone, Boston, 26, 10/18/1983 (2006)