Nicoll takes bronze on home turf 

Page 4 of 5

Raymond jumped to the front of the pack early with a run that started off with a 720 and an inverted 720 that was good enough for a score of 39.6.

Originally from Quebec, Raymond has been coaching and teaching snowboarding in Whistler for the past five years, entering every local contest that he could.

"It’s been a real progression for me, riding little $20 contests here a few years ago to competing in a World Cup," said Raymond, who has his sights set on the 2006 Olympics.

"My goal today was just to qualify, to get into the finals, but to go out and land two good runs like that without making any mistakes was beyond anything I hoped for. I saw that I could compete at this level."

Still, Raymond says it’s going to take a little more work to get on the podium, but he’s confident he can get there.

"I know that my 720s are solid, so now I have to go out and work on my 9s (900 spins) and 10s (1080’s)," said Raymond.

I’ve also never hit the frontside wall as hard as I did today, and I’m excited that I got away with it. You don’t want to push your own boundaries like that in a competition, but I had a lot more speed than I expected going into the wall so I just went for it and it turned out great. It’s not something people would notice, but I got a lot of personal confidence from that."

Although he finished in 10th place among the finalists, 17-year-old Brad Martin from the national development team had to feel good about his performance on Saturday. His tricks were bigger and better than his final score of 29.4 shows, and if he didn’t wash out on a couple of landings he would have finished a lot higher in the rankings. The crowd gave him one of the loudest cheers of the day for his aggressive second run.

Takaharu Nakai of Japan won the gold medal with a run that the other riders will be talking about for a long time, launching more than 15 feet out of the pipe and getting inverted on his very first trick. Nothing seemed to phase Nakai, who went bigger than the other riders and stuck some incredible landings lower down on the transition.

Nakai was followed by Xavier Hoffmann of Germany, last year’s winner, after the veteran pulled out an incredible second run with a clean 1080 near the bottom of the course.

Readers also liked…

Latest in Features

More by Andrew Mitchell

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation