Friday, January 12, 2007

Watanabe named to World Championships team

Sun Valley snowboarder to compete in Switzerland

Sun Valley snowboarder Graham Watanabe, who competed in the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, has been selected for the 2007 U.S. Snowboard World Championships Team. Photo by Willy Cook

Olympian Graham Watanabe, a Sun Valley snowboarder, has been named to the 2007 U.S. FIS Snowboard World Championship team that will compete Jan. 14-20 in Arosa Switzerland.

Watanabe, 24, who competed in the snowboardcross race at the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, joins a prestigious U.S. team that includes four Olympic medallists: reigning World Champions and 2006 Olympic snowboardcross medallists Seth Wescott and Lindsey Jacobellis and Olympic medallists Gretchen Bleiler and Chris Klug.

"We have a super strong team for Worlds in every event, including defending World Champions in snowboardcross," said U.S. Snowboarding Program Director Jeremy Forster. "Plus we've got a lot of young riders on this team including X Game medallists Scotty Lago and Steve Fisher as well as Junior Worlds medallists Clair Bidez and Ellery Hollingsworth. All of them could crack the podium, so we're looking for good things to happen in Arosa."

Competitors from 47 countries will be on hand to compete for top honors in SBX (Jan. 14), parallel giant slalom (Jan. 16), parallel slalom (Jan. 17) and halfpipe (Jan. 20).

Members of the 2007 U.S. FIS Snowboard World Championships Team are:

Halfpipe Men: Tommy Czeschin, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.; Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, Colo.; Michael Goldschmidt, Stratton Mountain, Vt.; Scotty Lago, Seabrook, N.H.

Halfpipe Women: Clair Bidez, Minturn, Colo.; Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, Colo.; Tricia Byrnes, Stratton Mountain, Vt.; Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton Mountain, Vt.

Snowboardcross Men: Alex Diebold, Manchester Center, Vt.; Nate Holland, Squaw Valley, Calif.; Jason Smith, Basalt, Colo.; Graham Watanabe, Sun Valley; Seth Wescott, Carrabassett Valley, Maine.

Snowboardcross Women: Joanie Anderson, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Callan Cythlook-Sifsof, Girdwood, Ark.; Kristen Fagan, Mount Laurel, N.J.; Lindsey Jacobellis, Stratton Mountain, Vt.; Marni Yamada, Seattle, Wash.

Alpine Men: Chris Klug, Aspen, Colo.; Tyler Jewell, Sudbury, Mass.; Justin Reiter, Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Adam Smith, Bend, Ore.; Josh Wylie, Londonderry, Vt.

Alpine Women: Michelle Gorgone, Sudbury, Mass.; Stacia Hookom, Edwards, Colo.; Lindsay Lloyd, Centerville, Utah; Erica Mueller, Steamboat Springs, Colo.

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