CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine ??вЂќ Sugarloaf’s Seth Wescott is the 2005 World Champion in the discipline of snowboard cross after winning the FIS Snowboard World Championships being held at Whistler, British Columbia on Sunday.
In its first stop on North American soil in the championship’s ten year history Wescott, who is a 1996 Carrabassett Valley Academy graduate, led every heat and made a critical pass in the round of eight in his quest and ultimate triumph for gold.
“It was amazing. I felt like I couldn’t do anything wrong,” Wescott said. The amazing part of his success may be in the fact that an injury sustained in a competition a week ago kept him from practicing. “I couldn’t even walk before Friday,” he said. “I took some practice runs on Saturday and felt pretty good.” Despite the injury and equipment trouble in early heats, Wescott said everything just seemed to fall into place. “My friends (and fellow competitors) said afterwards they knew I was going to win it after they saw me in the early rounds. It was my day.”
Wescott is the top ranked American in the sport of snowboard cross, which joins the Olympic Games as an official sport next year in Turino, Italy. He was the silver medallist in the 2003 World Championships. He now sets his sights on the crown jewel in winter sports, the Olympic medal. For now he’s happy with being known as the best in the world.
The FIS Snowboard World Championships are held every two years and attract more than 600 athletes and coaches from 40 countries around the world. Athletes compete for the crown of World Champion in five disciplines: snowboard cross, half pipe, big air, parallel giant slalom, and parallel slalom.
Snowboard cross is the newest Olympic discipline that pits competitors through a course that features banked turns, terrain changes and jumps. It’s the one discipline that truly tests a rider’s free riding ability – and nerve. The first timed round determines the start order for the knock-out rounds. Elimination rounds then match four riders at a time, racing in the same course, with the fastest two moving on to the next round. A four-rider final determines the medal positions.