Cover girl: Arielle Gold featured on the front of SI |

Cover girl: Arielle Gold featured on the front of SI

— Arielle Gold has been growing used to the spotlight. It's growing brighter on the 17-year-old Steamboat Springs snowboarding phenom since she broke into the elite ranks a year ago.

She knows it will grow even brighter next month as she competes in her first Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Then again, it may not grow much brighter after this week. Gold is featured on one of four covers of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated.

"I just found out today," Gold said Wednesday. "I just saw the cover posted on Twitter."

Getting press requests and all that involves — including photo shoots — have become a fixture in Gold's life in the past year, since she won the half-pipe competition at last year's World Championships and followed up with consistent podium finishes at big events such as the X Games.

She was considered to have a strong chance to make the Olympic team entering this season, and it was while dealing with the media blitz in the fall that she sat for a portrait. At the time, she had no idea where it would end up.

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"It was during the fall when I was doing a bunch of media stuff already, and it was just another photo shoot," she said. "I didn't know what it would be used for or anything."

Turns out, it was used to splash her face on some of sports' most premier real estate.

The other three covers also feature Olympians. Slalom skiing standout Mikaela Shiffrin is on one. Figure skater Gracie Gold — no relation — is on another, and downhill skier Bode Miller is on the third.

Arielle Gold shares a cover with slope-style snowboarder Jamie Anderson, with the tag "Arielle Gold & Jamie Anderson set to go big."

Michael Jordan has been on the Sports Illustrated cover 50 times. Tiger Woods has made it 24 times; Tom Brady, 19; Billy Kidd and Buddy Werner, twice each; and now, Arielle Gold, once.

"I'm excited," she said. "It was unexpected, but I was excited to see it."

She said she didn't expect to stock up on copies of the magazine, but that she knew a few people who might.

"My parents and grandma will get some copies," she said. "Usually I'm not too into that, but they are pretty into it when it comes to that stuff."

The women's snowboard half-pipe competition is set for Feb. 12. The men's version, which will feature Arielle's brother, Taylor Gold, is Feb. 11.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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