Three more Olympians

Steamboat trio named to U.S. snowboarding team

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— Known as Ski Town USA, Steamboat Springs has a rich Olympic tradition in Alpine, freestyle and Nordic combined skiing.

It might not be long before snowboarding is added to that list.

On Saturday, three American snowboarders with Steamboat ties were named to the 2006 Olympic team.

Tyler Jewell and Michelle Gorgone will compete in parallel giant slalom. Jason Smith will compete in men's snowboardcross. Snowboardcross is making its Olympic debut in Turin next month.

Jewell has been with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club for the past three years, working with race coach Thedo Remmelink.

"Tyler has been through a ton of ups and downs in his snowboard career," Winter Sports Club program director Jon Casson said. "We are so proud of Tyler and his accomplishments. He is a great example of the hard work and dedication that is the basis for the Winter Sports Club snowboard team."

Jewell, despite being named to the team, is awaiting a final decision on his status after 2002 bronze medalist Chris Klug filed an appeal Monday with the United States Olympic Committee. Klug was left off this year's team.

Based on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association selection criteria, Jewell was named to the team based on his ninth-place finish in a World Cup. Klug has not placed higher than 15th this season. Klug thinks, however, that he deserves to go and filed an appeal. He will meet with United States Olympic Committee arbitrators today in Denver.

Gorgone no longer lives in Steamboat, but she attended The Lowell Whiteman School and trained with the Winter Sports Club during high school. Gorgone has a fourth-place finish at a World Cup in Kronplatz, Italy, as well as seven top-10 finishes in World Cup races last season.

Smith won the last World Cup qualifier in Kronplatz earlier this season, making the case for his being named to the 2006 Olympic team in snowboardcross.

"Jason was on the bubble and really needed a win to make the Olympic team," Casson said. "He totally came through when it counted the most."

Smith is not officially tied to the Winter Sports Club, but he has been in Steamboat between events this winter to train with friend Erin Simmons, who is on the Canadian snowboardcross team. Winter Sports Club head freestyle coach Kevin "Cactus" Nemec is Smith's former coach in Aspen.

In addition to Simmons, Smith, Jewell and Gorgone, two other riders with ties to Steamboat will represent their home countries when the Olympics begin in February.

Philippe Berube was named to the Canadian Olympic Team in parallel giant slalom, and Johanna Shaw was named to Australia's Olympic Team in parallel giant slalom. Both train with Remmelink.

The United States and Canada will have two of the strongest snowboarding teams at the 2006 Olympics. All snowboarding events will be at the Melezet Ski Complex in Bardonecchia, Italy. Bardonecchia is about 55 miles west of Turin.

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