Palmer begins quest for four gold medals
CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – Shaun Palmer is attempting to accomplish an unprecedented feat this week at the third annual Winter X Games. One medal isn’t enough for the 30-year-old South Lake Tahoe athlete. No, the three-time X Games gold medalist is striving for four more as he’s entered in snowboarding boarder X, snow mountain biking X, free skier X and snowmobile snocross.
“When I enter an event, I want to win,” said Palmer, who is a two-time defending champion in boarder X and a 1997 gold medalist in snow mountain biking downhill.
Palmer’s hectic week of practice and competition commenced Wednesday as he finished seventh in the biker X preliminaries. The top 24 racers advanced to today’s final rounds.
But Palmer’s first busy day didn’t end on the biker X course. He practiced on the skier X course before calling it a day.
In addition to the biker X finals today, Palmer may practice on the boarder X hill.
Friday poses the most scheduling demands for Palmer as he is expected to practice for boarder X and skier X, then go through qualifying and finals in both events and begin practice for the snocross event.
On Saturday, Palmer’s tentative agenda is snocross practice and preliminaries before wrapping up the demading week with snowcross finals on Sunday.
However, Palmer isn’t sure he’ll show up for all the practice sessions.
“If I’m not prepared, I won’t enter. I really don’t need special training to win boarder X. I just need a little freeriding time,” he said. “I really have not been riding since April because of my mountain biking schedule.”
His mountain biking season was shortened because of a separated shoulder, which has since healed.
Palmer, who has focused on downhill mountain bike racing and motocross in recent years, announced his retirement from snowboarding last fall but has made a comeback for the Winter X Games. But Palmer said he was misunderstood.
“If I said I retired, that was the wrong word. Taking some time off is a better way to phrase it,” he said. “The Winter X Games are special because of the course and effort put into the events. It also has such great media exposure, and I need to sell some boards and that certainly helps.”
As the chief executive officer of Palmer USA, Ltd. Palmer will leave the board selling to his staff because he will be busy at Crested Butte.
Palmer could be another Dave Mira, a Summer X Games BMX bike stunt rider who owns the current record of three gold medals in one Games. Mira won three gold medals last summer at the X Games in San Diego.
All that needs to be determined is if iron and gold mix. The competition’s golden performer has tranformed into the Games’ iron man.
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