March 1, 2006

Turin champion Wescott seeks to grow sport in US

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American Seth Wescott, the first
person to win Olympic gold in snowboard cross, said on
Wednesday he is campaigning to popularize the sport in the U.S.

Wescott, who is also reigning snowboard cross world
champion, announced plans to host a series of U.S. clinics and
to lobby resorts to build snowboard cross tracks to give young
racers a chance to experience the sport.

"I've got a number of goals," said the 29-year-old

"First off, to get kids involved at a young age and give
them an exposure to snowboard cross," he said about the rousing
event that made its Olympic debut at the Turin Games, in which
four riders race side by side down a winding course with jumps.

"And to get a number of resorts to commit to having tracks
where people can go to train, because that's really a problem
for us in North America."

Wescott has already held a clinic at his home resort of
Sugarloaf in Maine, where he said 3,500 people turned out to
welcome him back. He also plans clinics in Utah and Colorado.

He said his immediate focus was on chasing the World Cup
title at Lake Placid, New York, next week and at the World Cup
final in Japan the week after.

Wescott said he planned to defend his Olympic gold at the
2010 Vancouver Games and perhaps beyond.

"I'll definitely be in Vancouver," he said with the gold
medal draped around his neck. "I'll make a decision on 2014
after Vancouver."