Friday, December 21, 2007

Watanabe undeterred by fat lip in Jeep opener

Here?s what Graham had to say about third place finish

Courtesy photo by Mark Oliver- Sun Valley snowboarder Graham Watanabe celebrates a third place finish last weekend in the Jeep King of the Mountain series debut competition at Telluride in Colorado. Twenty-five-year-old Watanabe, a 2000 Wood River High School graduate, won the Jeep World Pro Tour title in 2006.

Undeterred by a five stitches to his upper lip and a swollen face, Sun Valley snowboarder Graham Watanabe is pretty pleased with his third place finish last weekend in the debut competition of the Jeep King of the Mountain series in Telluride, Colo.

Here's what Watanabe had to say about it:

"Well, Colorado started off as an interesting trip, to say the least, but certainly didn't disappoint. Within the first couple of days, I came up short on a jump, freeriding at Breckenridge, and bashed my face.

"All said and done, I ended up with five stitches in my upper lip and a lumpy left side of my face. The swelling went down slowly, but was still plenty apparent for my head shots in Telluride where we stopped in for the first event of the Jeep King of the Mountain tour.

"After a whole lot of 'hurry up and wait' type days, we made it to game day. Sunday was finals, and despite feeling a bit o' funky I ended up battling through some World-Cup-stacked heats to participate in an all-American final race.

"Shaun Palmer, Seth Wescott, Nate Holland and myself lined up for the final race of the day. Despite last choice of starting gates, I got the whole-shot, only to be passed 100-some yards later on the flats.

"Undeterred, I charged hard yet again to make a pass on the line and take my place on the podium."

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