Palmer wins boardercross season title
SUN VALLEY, Idaho – Though 20 years of age separate the two, only a few inches stood between South Lake Tahoe’s Shaun Palmer and Alaska’s Callan Chythlook-Sifsof on Friday. But as they stood atop the podium together at the Jeep King of the Mountain competition at the 48Straight sports, music and entertainment event, something was similar between them – they were champions.
Palmer, an extreme sports legend who had already captured wins at the first two races of the season in Telluride, Colo., and Squaw Valley had a chance to complete the season sweep but finished just behind teammate and rival – Squaw Valley’s Nate Holland.
While Holland earned the individual event title, second place was good enough to secure the overall crown for Palmer, marking yet another milestone in a season that includes two second- place World Cup finishes and a spot on the U.S. Snowboard team “A” team.
“This has been a great season, and after I got the first two wins I wanted to complete the sweep,” said Palmer, who competed in his first snowboard competition in 1988, approximately one year before Chythlook-Sifsof was born. “Hats off to Nate in earning the victory, as he deserved to win today. Now it’s all about the 2010 Olympics and trying to secure one of those few spots. This finish sure doesn’t hurt.”
The women’s boardercross competition, meanwhile, was captivating from start to finish. In the very first run of the day, Lindsey Jacobellis, the X Games gold medalist and Olympic silver medalist with four titles in World Cup competition this season, jumped out to a huge lead over her competitors and seemed destined to coast into the finals.
Unexpectedly, the defending Jeep King of the Mountain champion took a tumble, opening up the opportunity for South Lake Tahoe’s Dena Waller and Lynn Neil to advance. Chythlook-Sifsof, the 19-year-old who is already a member of the U.S. Snowboarding team, found herself matched up against teammate Marni Yamada of Seattle, along with Americans Lynn Ott of Bend, Ore., and Tahoe Paradise’s Joanie Anderson, a 2007 X Games gold medalist.
In the championship heat, Chythlook-Sifsof started behind the pack but quickly caught up and made her push, reaching the finish line with little room to spare and landing her the biggest win in a brief yet impressive three-year career. Rounding out the top four were Neil, Anderson and Waller, respectively.
“This is my first win ever at this level of competition, and I’m just so happy to be here,” said Chythlook-Sifsof. “I didn’t know what to expect out there today, but from the very beginning my goal was to win. Lindsey always presents such huge competition to the entire field, and I honestly had no idea I had won the overall championship until I crossed the finish line. The Olympics is my next goal, and having competed on the World Cup circuit and winning this event today, it shows me that I can hold my own with anyone.”
Coverage of the action from Sun Valley will be televised to a national broadcast audience on March 29-30 on CBS Sports.