Five Americans to watch in snowboarding
Shaun White (USA)
Already one of the most well-known names coming into the Sochi Games of any international sporting star, White has the opportunity to become the first American male to win the same event at three consecutive Winter Olympics. American speed skater Shani Davis and American snowboarder Seth Wescott have the same opportunity, but White’s event is the first, so he’ll have the first crack at history. In January of 2013, White won the gold medal in the SuperPipe at the X Games, making him the second person in Winter X Games history to win an event six years in a row.
Nate Holland (USA)
Holland’s event, snowboard cross, features Seth Wescott, another American with a chance to accomplish the same feat as White. But Wescott is coming off a devastating injury when he tore his ACL in April. That accident opened this event to the rest of the field, including the Idaho native, Holland. Holland is a six-time X Games champion and finished fourth in Vancouver. The 34-year-old is a veteran with experience in Torino, as well. Look for a potential medal from Holland, who, along with Wescott and Nick Baumgartner, make up a solid United States team.
Kelly Clark (USA)
Clark is one of the few Olympic athletes left that participated in 2002 in Salt Lake City, almost 12 years ago. That’s where the now 30-year-old won her only gold medal. The halfpipe snowboarder had a disappointing showing in 2006, where she finished fourth because of a missed landing. After a bronze in Vancouver, this is most likely the end of Clark’s Olympic career. In January of 2013, Clark won a gold medal in the SuperPipe at the X Games. It was her third straight win in the same event at the Winter X Games. She’s the favorite in the halfpipe and her biggest competitor in the event comes from her Team USA counterparts Elena Hight and Arielle Gold.
Justin Reiter (USA)
Reiter’s an interesting case of a snowboarder changing events successfully. He originally participated in parallel giant slalom, but failed to make the United States team in 2006 and 2010. Despite those struggles, he shocked the snowboarding world when he won a silver medal in parallel slalom at the 2013 World Snowboard Championships. Now parallel is considered the stronger of his two events and where he has his best chance to medal in Sochi.
Lindsey Jacobellis (USA)
Jacobellis’ name might be familiar for fans watching the 2006 Games in Torino. Then 21, the Connecticut native infamously won a silver medal in the snowboard cross after botching a three-second lead by attempting a jump at the end of the race, causing her to fall on the edge of her board. It was a mistake many criticized as show-boating because she could’ve won the race without it. Still, Jacobellis is one of the greatest snowboarders in the history of snowboardcross with 26 World Cup wins to her name. She is recovering from a knee injury that required two surgeries but should be ready for the Olympics.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Model Olympian: Lindsey Jacobellis
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