John F. Russell: Building Olympic dreams
February 3, 2008
Steamboat SpringsSteamboat Springs — It's surprising to hear Tyler Jewell, a snowboarder who lived in a tent just outside of Steamboat Springs leading up to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, compare his snowboarding career to building a house. — It's surprising to hear Tyler Jewell, a snowboarder who lived in a tent just outside of Steamboat Springs leading up to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, compare his snowboarding career to building a house.
Steamboat Springs — It’s surprising to hear Tyler Jewell, a snowboarder who lived in a tent just outside of Steamboat Springs leading up to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, compare his snowboarding career to building a house.
Tyler returned to Steamboat last weekend to spend some time in the town he calls home. He didn’t pitch a tent, but he still understands what it’s like to be without a permanent shelter.
These days, he doesn’t have time for a permanent home – even if he wanted one. He spends his winters on the road, his summers at the Olympic training center in San Diego and what little free time he has visiting coaches and friends in Steamboat. He still doesn’t have four walls and a roof he can call his own, but he says he has found a home here thanks to Mike and Marne Roberts, who took him in a few years back.
“I’m not here as much as I used to be, but I still consider Steamboat Springs my home,” Tyler said.
It’s been almost two years since Tyler finished 11th in the parallel giant slalom on the world’s biggest stage. He’s been pretty busy – a lifestyle that is not new to him.
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For the past seven years, Jewell has been building a home, a project that, like snowboarding, is filled with ups and downs. Before the 2006 Olympics, Jewell was named to the U.S. Team, dropped, then taken on again for the trip to Turin, Italy.
Last month, he collected his first World Cup podium with a third-place finish in La Molina, Spain. He’s now 31 years old and has his sights set on a trip to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, B.C.
While a lot’s changed since Tyler earned his spot on the 2006 Olympic team, his outlook on life seems the same.
“It’s a lot like building a house,” Tyler said of competing. “You have to start with a foundation and then work your way up. No parts are more important than any other – it’s a process.”
Part of the foundation for competing in the Olympics is gaining successful experience at the World Cup level. That means traveling around the world and competing against the best on the World Cup tour. It also means riding through the good times, and bad.
“The foundation isn’t always the prettiest part of the home, but it’s just as important as every other part,” Tyler said.
He says his foundation is a blend of results and experience that he has gained during the past several years. His foundation comes from racing against the world’s best athletes, listening to the words of his coaches and coming home when he gets the chance, to soak in Steamboat’s Olympic traditions.
There’s no doubt that Tyler has left his tent behind him and is now building a home to fill with Olympic dreams. The only question remaining is whether he will complete all the parts in time for the 2010 Olympic Games.