Jewell hopes to shine in parallel giant slalom | SteamboatToday.com

Jewell hopes to shine in parallel giant slalom

Tyler Jewell

— American snowboarder Tyler Jewell will have another shot at Olympic glory today when the men's parallel giant slalom takes center stage at rainy slopes at Cypress Moun­tain in British Co­­lum­­­bia.

Jewell, who trained and lived in Steam­boat Springs leading up to the 2006 Olym­pics in Turin, It­aly, will join teammate Chris Klug to form the Am­er­ican contingent. Jewell made it to the round of 16 four years ago in Bardonecchia, Italy, before being knocked out short of the finals and a chance at a medal.

The men will be hoping for better weather than the women had for Friday's parallel giant slalom, which was plagued by a steady rain that soaked everyone and everything at the Cypress venue.

For Jewell, the Vancouver Olympics will be a chance to improve his finish at the 2006 Olympic Games, where he finished 11th in the men's field.

"I had the speed to do it but not the experience," Jewell said. "I just realized that snowboarding was my dream and being an Olympian was a big part of it. I just went for it."

Jewell lived in a tent on his coach's property the summer before the 2006 Olympics and ate his meals at the Yampa Valley Medical Center cafeteria in an effort to save money for competitions and train full time for his first shot at the Olympics. Jewell since has moved to California where he can be closer to U.S. Ski Team training facilities in the San Diego area.

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If he wants to climb onto the podium, the snowboarder will have to get past favorites including Austria's Benjamin Karl, who is the reigning parallel slalom world champion and leads the World Cup standings with two wins, two second-place and two third-place finishes in seven races this season.

There also will be hometown favorites including Jasey Jay Anderson, Michael Lambert and Matthew Morison, who will be looking to keep the momentum rolling for the Canadian snowboarding team, which has collected two medals at these Olympics with Maelle Ricker winning the women's snowboard cross title and Mike Robertson taking the silver in the men's snowboard cross.

Anderson, 34, has collected 59 podiums and 26 victories in 207 World Cup starts. He also has competed in four Olympics and 16 World Championships in snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom.

There also are several riders who could sneak into the hunt. Siegfried Grabner, of Austria, Mathieu Bozzetto, of France, and Simon Schoch, of Switzerland, should vie for a medal in the event. Grabner, the reigning overall and World Cup champion, has not competed in the past four World Cup races because of an ankle injury suffered in December. He won the bronze medal in Turin. Schoch is also a 2006 Olympic medalist and will be looking to improve on his silver-medal showing in Italy.

The men's parallel giant slalom qualification begins at 11 a.m. today Mountain Standard Time, with the race for the medals scheduled at 2:30 p.m.