Local may have qualified for Olympics
The World Cup snowboarding season got an early start or late finish last week with an official event in Valle Nevado, Chile. With the 2002 Winter Olympics just around the corner, the event was an important qualifier for the athletes, who are competing for a limited number of spaces in the halfpipe and freestyle events.
The event was considered the last of the 2000-2001 season, and for many a last chance to earn a quota spot for their countries and themselves in the Winter Games.
Whistlers Lori Glazier, a member of the 1998 Olympic Team, may have earned herself a spot with a fourth place finish in the halfpipe on Sept. 7.
"Lori was in 27 th last year, and with this result we think she made the cut," said Whistlers Tim OBrien, a member of the Canadian Snowboard Federation executive. "The FIS (Federation Internationale de Ski) will release the list at the end of November, and we hope shes on it."
Glazier, who finished sixth in the World Championships last season, is also optimistic. "It was a tough competition, the best in the world were there, and I stood up beside the reigning gold and silver Olympic medalists on the podium," she says.
"Im nailing my 720s now, and Im going to work on my 900s. Ive seen the best out there. Im not intimidated any more."
She also credits her performance in Chile to her coach and "best friend Joe McAdoo. He taught me to snowboard and he was there with me in Chile. I dont know if I could have done it without him."
The only other Canadian woman to qualify for a spot is Vancouvers Natasza Zurek, who underwent knee surgery this summer to repair a damaged ACL. She is expected back in the fall.
Two Norwegians landed on the podium, with Kjersti Buass and Stine B. Kjeldaas finishing first and third. Nicola Thost, the reigning Olympic champion, won the silver.
"I was having a lot of fun in the pipe today," said Kjeldaas, the world champion and Olympic silver medalist. "And I was really happy for Kjersti I almost couldnt concentrate any more. My main goal today was to keep the Olympic spot for Norway."
Other noteworthy Canadian performances belonged to Dominique Vallee in 21 st , Maelle Ricker in 24 th , and Mercedes Nicoll in 32 nd . Ricker, a former world champion in boardercross, underwent knee surgery two weeks before Zurek and is already back on her board. Nicoll hails from Whistler and was a member of the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club before she made the leap to the national team.
Spains Iker Fernandez won the mens halfpipe, followed by Markus Jonsson of Sweden and Jonas Emery of Switzerland. Whistlers Trevor Andrew was the top-ranked Canadian, finishing sixth. Mike Michalchuk was 18 th .
In the parallel giant slalom on Sept. 8, another Olympic event, two members of the Canadian team managed to make it to the quarter-finals. Jasey Jay Anderson, the overall World Cup champion last season, finished eighth. Mark Fawcett, another Olympian, finished seventh. If all goes well, Canada will send four members of the Alpine team to the Olympics.
The top four spots belonged to Kosir Dejan of Slovakia, Markus Ebner of Germany, Stephen Copp of Sweden, and Alexander Koller of Austria.
In the womens PGS, the top Canadian was Melissa Barclay in 21 st , followed by Helene Cloutier 30 th .
In the snowboardcross, two Canadians made it to the podium Jasey Jay Anderson was second and Drew Nielsen was third, sandwiched between Xavier Delerue of France in first and Juan Beveraggi of Argentina who was fourth.
The womens SBX went to Karine Ruby of France, followed by Russias Maria Tikhvinskaja, Austrias Brigitte Holaus, and Swedens Lina Christiansson.
The 2001-2002 Canadian Snowboard Team, as it currently stands, includes the following athletes.
Mens Halfpipe (6)
Mens HP Development (3)
Womens Halfpipe (6)
Womens HP Development (3)
Mens Alpine (8)
Mens Alpine Development (3)
Womens Alpine (4)
Womens Alpine Development (4)