Thursday, December 22, 2005
It's been a good month for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboarder Tyler Jewell, but he prefers to think of his success during the past 30 days as more of a starting point.
"I'm happy, but I'm not content," Jewell said from his family's home just outside of Boston, where he is spending the holidays.
After Christmas, Jewell plans to return to Steamboat Springs to continue training for key World Cup parallel giant slalom events this January in Austria. More top finishes there could earn the local rider a ticket to Italy for the Olympics.
"When I was growing up, I played a lot of games that were divided into quarters and halves," Jewell said. "The way I see it, this is halftime, and I'm leading by a field goal. I can't afford to get too comfortable."
Jewell is riding a wave of top finishes that included a victory at a Europa Cup event in Haus im Ennstal, Austria, on Dec. 11 and a ninth in a World Cup event in Le Relais, Canada on Sunday. He also placed 24th in another Canadian World Cup, despite falling.
"That was my best World Cup finish ever," Jewell said of his ninth. "I'm riding well, and it gives me a lot of confidence."
Jewell returned to the United States this week and finished third in a Race to the Cup event in Vermont.
"I've done nine races this month," Jewell said. "It was kind of a tough decision to go to Europe because I would only be back four days before I leave for the Olympic qualifiers. But the coaches feel that racing a lot will allow me to be successful, so that's what I'm doing."
Jewell is one of several racers from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's program who are on track to earn an invitation to the Olympic Games this February.
Caroline Calve, who lives in Canada and trains in Steamboat, won in Vermont, stamping her ticket to Italy. Kimiko Zakreski also picked up a second-place finish at the Race to the Cup events and should also get the nod from the Canadian national team.
Steamboat coach Thedo Rem--melink thinks Johanna Shaw's 19th and 21st place results will qualify her to race with the Australian team in Italy, as well.
The news wasn't as good for local favorites Justin Reiter and Erica Mueller. Both riders have been battling injuries this season and needed top results in the Vermont events to earn the right to compete in key qualifying World Cup events in January.
But they came up short, and Remmelink said the riders' hopes of making it to the 2006 Olympic Games could also come up short.
"It's very disappointing," Rem--melink said. "They've both worked very hard to get to where they are at, but circumstances put them in a tough spot, and they needed a few things to go their way. Unfortunately, they didn't."
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