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Vancouver 2010: Snowboarding preview

Now that the Super Bowl is over, you may find yourself looking forward to the pageantry of the Winter Olympics. Here’s who and what to look for in snowboarding this year…

  • Lindsey Jacobellis – In the Turin Olympics Lindsey went a little too big off the last jump in the snowboard cross final and it cost her the gold. Afterwards the U.S. press criticized her for showing off and letting her country down. Lindsey would later explain how snowboarding is supposed to be fun and how she wanted to match the enthusiasm of the crowd with a stylish finish. Makes sense to me. Let’s see if Lindsey can redeem her honor.
  • “The Flying Tomato” – All sports have those athletes that come along and not only dominate a sport but also change its direction. What Tiger Woods is (was?) to golf, Shaun White is to snowboarding. I just want to say that I personally rock his signature line of Burton apparel and yes, I snowboard better because of it.
  • The Double Cork – It’s hard to describe this controversial halfpipe maneuver, so you’re going to have to click here to see it for yourself. Invented by Shaun White, it was deemed necessary for unseating him in Vancouver, but after Kevin Pearce fell hard and into a coma trying it in training, some called for a ban by the International Olympic Committee. No official ruling as of yet, so we’ll have to wait to see what happens.
  • Torah Bright – I felt this Australian phenom got robbed when she finished 5th in the halfpipe finals at the Turin Games. Since then, she won gold at the 2007 and 2009 X Games and is a favorite in this year’s Olympics. However Torah had to pull out of the 2010 X Games after suffering two concussions in three days in January—adding fuel to the fire to eighty-six certain maneuvers in Vancouver. Reports say she’s recovered physically, but as I can attest, concussions come with psychological effects as well.

I don’t know where I stand on banning maneuvers at the Olympics. On the one hand, I don’t want a governing body capping the level of competition in snowboarding. On the other, I realize each year this level gets more and more dangerous. What do you think?

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