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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Dec 31, 2002 - Jan 7, 2003


3 Dudes, 3 Medals

Snowboarders show us how to have fun

(Editorís note: Not long ago, the 2002 Winter Olympics dominated the nationís sports pages. One of the most entertaining stories about the Utah Olympics was written by a columnist for The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune named Martin Fennelly. The Express asked Fennelly if we could publish his Feb. 12 column about the accomplishment of three young Americans in sweeping the medals in the halfpipe competition. He said, "No prob.")

The Tampa Tribune

The gold medalist won with, in his own words, "A method air and then a frontside air. Then McTwist, into a frontside seven indy, into a cab seven indy, into a stalefish, into a backside 360 to a switch McTwist."

It was sick.

The silver medalist, his headphones blasting his eardrums with, in his own words, "Kind of a compilation of AC/DC, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Misfits and Good Riddance," went with a frontside air, a backside melon, a frontside rodeo stalefish, a cab melon, a cab half-bakie and a cab 720.

Darby Heaney, Ketchum boarder, soars like an eagle from Baldyís Roundhouse Slope during Marchís SolFest Big Air demo sponsored by Freeze magazine. Express photo by Willy Cook

The bronze medalist did a Twist, a frontside turnaround, a backside, an air frontside mute, an indy, a fakie and a switch McTwist. He was excited about receiving an Olympic medal and all, even more when he found out that the band Foo Fighters was playing at the medals plaza in Salt Lake City.

"Oh, cool. Good deal."

Meet your Olympians, America.

Their names are Jeff Spicoli.

This is how you make Olympic history these days. This is how you put the X into the XIX Winter Olympics. This is how you change the world, whether it wants changing or not. Watch out Norway, Sweden, Austria and all you bogus winter Olympian places, weíre coming after you.

And weíve got just the gang to bring our country together in a time of need. One nation under God, over snowboard.

Itís like silver medalist Danny Kass said.

"This could unite a lot of dudes."


Tuned in

In a performance that was totally phat, three Americans (combined age: 62) took the Olympics on the ride of its life. They didnít do bad by their flag, either.

This morning, mothers and fathers are dropping the idea of figure skating lessons and are pricing snowboards. How many kids on skateboards are stoked about the Olympics? Itís not a pipe dream.

Itís a halfpipe dream.

All because of what Ross Powers, 23, Danny Kass, 19, and Jarret "J.J." Thomas, 20, did Monday in the menís halfpipe, zigzagging in and around and often above a snow-covered half cylinder 525 feet long. Powers, from Vermont, took the gold one day after another U.S. athleteóyes, athleteónamed Kelly Clark did the same in the womenís halfpipe.

And, yes, we think they passed their drug tests.

"I think everyone thinks weíre a bunch of partiers, but thatís not true," Danny Kass said. "I think motocross, those guys are totally out of control. They should never be in the Olympics."

Ross, Danny and J.J. are the bomb.

They became the first Americans in 46 years of Olympics to sweep all three individual medals in a winter event. The last time the United States did that was in menís figure skating at the 1956 Games in Italy. Those dudes were named Hayes Alan Jenkins, Ronald Robertson and David Jenkins.

Later, media questioned the snowboarders. Reporters spoke Greek and the medalists answered in Latin. The whole time, you felt like their parents.

But the crowd of 30,000ó30,000ówent off. It knew the story. It rocked for anyone who put some gnarly air between himself and the planet, including the fresh Finnish entrant with the Mohawk haircut.

Back to the tunes.

Ross Powers didnít use his headphones in winning the gold, but he requested Beastie Boys and Metallica. J.J. Thomas, from Colorado, got what he wanted on only one of his final two runs.

"I requested Busta Rhymes and got that one," he said. "But somehow I got Madonna on the second ride."

Thatís lame.

And then there was Dannyís silver-winning music.

"Itís my Olympic pumpiní-up mini-disc and it worked magic. I may make copies of it and try to sell it."


Now this is cool

Weíre sold on these kids.

The United States has won six gold medals in Salt Lake. Four have come by snowboard. Another was earned by Shannon Bahrke, who won a silver in moguls skiing, another action sport to blow cobwebs off the Winter Games.

Peripheral sports?

Whatís so peripheral about a sport that brings people in, that makes them part of the show? Sunday, before Kelly Clark won her gold, before the final runs, she and other athletes mixed with fans, signing autographs on flags and posing for pictures. It was practically a mosh pit.

This is bad for the Olympics?

Give me fun.

Give me cool.

Give me Danny Kass.

Danny, 5-6 with a big head of black hair, is from New Jersey. He says he is here for beer and babes. The other day, someone asked what he thought about all those people who think snowboarders are laid-back.

"Well, you have to go with the flow," he said. "You play a lot more video games, I guess."

This is your new Wheaties box.

"Not Wheaties, man," Danny said. "I wouldnít eat Wheaties. Count Chocula, maybe."

This new American hero once formed a band with his high school buddies and named it Bent Metal. Now he has a new group in mind. He wants to call it Grenade. Somebody asked him what instrument heíll play.

"Iím going to yell into the microphone."

The national anthem was calling.

The medals were waiting.

Interviews concluded, Olympian Danny Kass, along with Olympians Ross Powers and J.J. Thomas, headed for the awards plaza.

J.J. asked how long the Foo Fighters would play. Danny Kass thought about the day. He had won Olympic silver and made his nation proud. He set his sights on greater glory.

"Iíve never picked up a girl with a medal before."


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