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Palmer Athletes Experience Ups & Downs of Olympic Competition

February 22, 2006

Palmer Athletes Experience Ups & Downs of Olympic Competition

Six Palmer-Sponsored Riders Represented Five Countries In Italy Last Week

DENVER, CO…February 22, 2006 … While Olympic competition will continue in Italy for another week, the halfpipe and snowboard cross events have wrapped up and Palmer’s six Olympians are now taking the opportunity to reflect on their Olympic experiences.
The six Palmer-sponsored snowboarders who went to Italy to compete in either halfpipe or snowboard cross  - Andy Finch and Lindsey Jacobellis (USA), Erin Simmons (Canada), Marco Huser (Switzerland), Tommaso Tagliaferri (Italy) and Rafal Skarbek-Malczewski (Poland) - all competed in Bardonecchia last week.
One of the most anticipated and controversial performances of the Games came from Palmer rider, Lindsey Jacobellis in the women’s snowboard cross finals.  After successfully battling through the preliminary rounds of competition, Lindsey took the lead in the final race for the first-ever Olympic snowboard cross medal. Despite a fall on the second to last jump, Lindsey landed herself on the podium with a silver medal around her neck.
“It was a great experience for me to represent my country at this year’s Olympics,” said 20-year-old Jacobellis. “I was so happy with the way I rode, and extremely pleased I made it into the finals. Despite my experience at the end of the race, I am thrilled to have won a silver medal and realize my Olympic dream.”
In the men’s halfpipe competition, Andy Finch qualified for the finals on his first run, placing fourth in the first heat. The 2005 X Games silver medalist stayed true to his reputation of going bigger than any of his rivals in the pipe, although he did not ultimately end up on the podium.
“When I arrived in Italy, I was still recovering from a foot injury…I couldn’t even make a toe-side turn. All through practice, I was really conservative and just did a bunch of straight airs to try to get used to the transition, but when it came to the qualifiers, I just stomped it,” said Andy Finch, of his qualifying run. “Even though I cased it in my final run, it was all good because I had my teammates to cheer on, the USA to represent and another week in Italy to watch the Olympics, hang out with family and ride.”

The remainder of Palmer’s Olympic athletes competed on the snowboard cross course. Erin Simmons, from Vancouver, Canada finished 17th in the women’s snowboard competition. 
“Unfortunately, my competition did not go as planned,” said Simmons. “But when I joined my family in the stands to watch the other girls race, I was approached by several fans who asked for a picture and autograph.  It made me realize that even though I didn't fulfill my own dream of winning a medal, I was still an Olympic athlete and that is something to be very proud of.”
Fellow Palmer teammates, Switzerland’s Marco Huser, Italy’s Tommaso Tagliaferri, competing with a home field advantage, and Poland’s Rafal Skarbek-Malczewski all laid down competitive runs, finishing in 9th, 11th and 22nd places, respectively.
“One thing that is hard about the Olympics,” said Swiss rider and 2006 silver X Games Medalist Marco Huser, “is that unlike a world cup race where ‘next time’ is a week later, with the Olympics you have to wait another four years to prove the world that you are actually capable of kicking ass out there."
While all of Palmer’s athletes deserve some hard-earned rest and down time, don’t expect that to last long. They’ll all be back on the slopes doing what they do best as the snowboard season is far from over. The Arctic Challenge in Norway, more snowboard cross races in Lake Placid, NY and Japan, and the US Open of Snowboarding in Stratton, VT are just a few of the things on these athletes’ agendas in the next month.
“We are proud to support so many diverse athletes,” said Kevin Addy, VP of Sales and Marketing for Palmer Snowboards. “For a company of our size, to have so many riders participate in the Olympic snowboarding experience is a big honor.”
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