U.S. riders cross off medals
January 14, 2007
Aspen, CO ColoradoAROSA, Switzerland – Basalt local Jason “Earz” Smith finished eighth in Sunday’s boardercross at the FIS Snowboard World Championships in Arosa, Switzerland, to round out a 2-3-8 finish for the Americans.Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott took silver and defending Winter X Games gold medalist Nate Holland earned the bronzeFor the U.S. women, Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis defended her 2005 world title for a second gold.Manchester, Vermont’s Alex Deibold, who has yet to compete in a World Cup race, was 15th behind Smith. Switzerland’s Sandra Frei was second for the women with Norway’s Helene Olafsen in third, while French rider Xavier Delerue took gold for the men.
“It’s great,” said Jacobellis, a Stratton Mountain (Vt.) School graduate, in a press release. “It’s awesome to be in the finish corral and seeing two of my riders up there. I can’t always follow what’s happening with the guys because I’m trying to get up there and get everything ready for my next race – it’s a great showing.”The most successful boardercrosser in history, male or female, Jacobellis résumé reads like this: 2006 Olympic silver medalist, seven World Cup victories since 2004 in only nine boardercross events, three consecutive Winter X Games wins (’03-’05), Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix overall champion (’05) and now back-to-back world championships gold medalist.”I’m glad people can look at me in this way as coming back strong,” she said, closing the book on a mistake that cost her gold in Turin, Italy. “It’s having no questions in their minds – I’d like to be recognized for what I’ve accomplished, rather then my mistake. I know my mistake will carry over for a long time, probably until the next Olympics … this will hopefully dilute that some.”U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley was impressed with both men’s and women’s teams.”It’s amazing really, they keep pulling it off,” he said. “Lindsey was in last place in the semifinal and she passed everyone to win the round and Seth and Nate were battling the whole time. Seth would have liked to win it again, so he’s a bit frustrated, but he rode so well. This was a course that was more about getting out front and staying there, not about technical riding.”
Wescott is the top technical rider in the world and is outspoken on preferring courses that challenge every aspect of snowboarding. Less than favorable snow conditions did not allow organizers to build a difficult course, however. The warm weather in Europe canceled every World Cup event prior to the World Championships.”It’s been really warm these past couple days so I’m surprised they still have snow,” said Jacobellis. “But they did a great job holding the event for what they had because everywhere around Europe is really hurting for snow. It’s amazing they were able to pull it together.
“This global warming is really taking affect and I think if any one wants to continue being a snowboarder they need to pay attention to that and do anything they can to help because we’re not going to have a sport it there isn’t any snow.”Wescott concurred.”It’s was so funny coming to Worlds as my first race,” he said, after scrambling to find training at Mount Hood Meadows prior to Arosa. “I did bad in the time trial and the final heat was super close, the entire course was all about speed and there were very little opportunities to pass.”Wescott was looking for every opportunity get by Delerue in the final, but just couldn’t find a window, Foley said. “He was looking so hard for a chance, but it never happened,” he said. “It’s tough, but Seth has already proven he’s the best and Nate is pretty stoked. He had to pull some crazy passes to get to the podium – he deserved to be on there.”Aspen local Chris Klug will compete in parallel giant slalom when the FIS Snowboard World Championships continue Tuesday and local Gretchen Bleiler, the Olympic silver medalist in women’s halfpipe, competes Saturday.