U.S. Snowboarding Is Great, But Not at This Major Olympic Event

Feb 21, 2014 7:49am
GTY justin reiter kab 140220 16x9 608 U.S. Snowboarding Is Great, But Not at This Major Olympic Event

Justin Reiter of the United States competes in the snowboard men's parallel giant slalom qualification during the 2014 Winter Olympics on Feb. 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

American snowboarders dominated the halfpipe, snowboard cross and slopestyle at the Sochi 2014 Olympics last week, with big-name athletes like Sage Kotsenburg, Jamie Anderson, Kaitlyn Farrington, and Kelly Clark all earning medals.

But the snowboarding competition has continued this week in races where barely any Americans are even competing: alpine snowboarding.

The lone alpine snowboarder representing the U.S. in Sochi is Justin Reiter, who placed 24th in a field of 30 during the men’s giant parallel slalom on Wednesday.

An American alpine snowboarder won the race, but as a member of the Russian team.

Vic Wild said after the slalom race this week that in 2011, after marrying Russian Olympic snowboarder Alena Zavarzina, he obtained Russian citizenship and decamped to Moscow to train for the 2014 Olympics because he couldn’t get financial support in the United States.

Similarly, other countries that have sent athletes to the podium in the trick-heavy events are barely registering in the finals of the alpine snowboarding events, including including Norway, Canada, Finland, Great Britain and France.

Countries that didn’t place well during the trick events, such as Russia, Slovenia and Switzerland, have been among the top scorers in alpine.

The spokesman for the USSA, Tom Kelly, told the Wall Street Journal that the financial focus of the group was “very centric to halfpipe and slopestyle.”

Reiter told the paper that he received some funding from the USSA for his Olympic run, but not enough to pay his way through the snowboarding season; he sometimes slept in his truck to be able to compete.

The USSA did not immediately respond to calls for comment from ABC News today.

 

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