Nick Baumgartner

My Olympic Competition

I was so amped to represent my country, my community, Michigan, all my fans, as well as my family and friends. On our first scheduled practice day it rained hard, the conditions were terrible and continued to deteriorate throughout the day. The snow had been flown in from Mount Baker, Washington by helicopter to battle the weather.

The following day were time trials and I didn’t have the best day. On my first run I crashed just before the finish line and ended up sliding across the line. It was still a good run.

For my second shot at time trials I intended to lay down an awesome run. I didn’t. My second run was a scratch. I laid it all on the line to try and get the top spot and it didn’t pan out. I figure if I get two shots at it I’m always going to lay it on the line at least once.

The time from my first run held up and earned me the rank of 7th fastest on the day. This was a huge accomplishment in my snowboarding career. To compete with the top athletes in my sport in front of the world on the olympic stage was an amazing experience. Then to have a number next to my name after day one made my Olympic experience that much more real.

On the day of finals I pulled out of the gate and had a bad start. I was in fourth as the race got underway. I patiently waited for an opportunity to make my move. Then off of a step down into a long straight away I made my move. I went from last to first. Going around the next corner I was overtaken again. I wanted to go for the pass and take the lead back. I came off a step down and went to go around the leader, Robert Fagan of Canada, and that's when I hit some soft snow that grabbed the tips of my boots. When my boots caught the soft snow it ate up all my speed. After losing my speed I didn’t have enough speed to clear the next jump. That was the end of my Olympic competition.

Being a part of the US Olympic Snowboard team is amazing on a lot of levels. Even to be bumped out of the competition was an amazing experience. The US Snowboard team is the most successful in Winter Olympic history so sitting on the sidelines on our team means watching a team member win. We’re always in good company. Vancouver was no different.

I cheered on my fellow Olympians and watched two other teammates fall victim to the conditions.

One good thing about being bumped was I had an amazing view of the final race. It was a great race to watch, Seth Wescott (US Olympic Gold medalist) made up a huge deficit in the finals to overtake the leader and claim his second Olympic Gold. To be there and be a part of US Olympic Snowboard history is an experience I imagine will be hard to top.

 

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