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Monday, January 28, 2002
Updated: February 21, 11:42 AM ET
Olympic diary: Some final training time

By Ross Powers
Special to ESPN.com

Ross Powers, a 22-year-old who was on the 1998 U.S. Olympic snowboard team, is sharing a bi-weekly diary on his preparations for the Olympics.

In a few minutes, the team is leaving Park City, Utah.

It was going to be a great camp for us -- getting a chance to ride the Olympic pipe. The weather wasn't good, though. Also, the man who cuts the pipe wasn't able to because the dragon, the machine he uses, broke down.

Today was our last chance to be here because of Olympic rules that you have to be out of the venue so many days before competition. So now we're headed to Mammoth, Calif., to practice and hang out.

In the last diary entry, I was in Breckenridge, Colo., for the final Grand Prix event. It was good training for me since it didn't matter how I did there because I had already qualified for the Olympics.

ROSS POWERS
Ross Powers
Powers
Birthdate: Feb. 10, 1979
Hometown: South Londenderry, Vt.
Sport: Snowboarder -- halfpipe
Accomplishments: He became the first U.S. snowboarder to win an Olympic medal, a bronze, at Nagano. The ISF halfpipe world champion in 2000, he also captured gold in superpipe at the 2000 Gravity Games. He took first place at the 2000 Goodwill Games in halfpipe and at the 1999 U.S. Open. He won two gold medals at the Winter X Games in 1998.
Personal: Considered snowboarding's first child prodigy, he competed in his first U.S. Open while in the fourth grade. He learned to snowboard on Bromley Mountain, where his mother worked on weekends. Other interests include skateboarding, wakeboarding, mountain biking, soccer, surfing and moto-cross.

From there I went to Aspen, Colo., for the X Games. At the X Games, it was fun to see the other athletes and some of the other events -- like snowmobiling and dirt bike (Moto X).

Halfpipe was pretty good in Aspen. It was the first time that all the Europeans and Scandinavians were at the event and it was good to ride with them because they are going to be at the Olympics. In the practice before the event I was riding better than the runs that counted. I ended up in eighth place.

After that, I actually got to go home to Vermont for a few days. It was nice. I got to see my family and drop some stuff off. It wasn't too relaxing because I had three days to catch up on paperwork and do interviews. Some of the interviews were for TV and we had to do some filming on the local mountains. But I got a little bit of riding in, too.

This week we've just been hanging out waiting to ride, playing some tennis and volleyball at the sports center and going to the movies as we waited for the weather to clear up.

Today, fellow boarder Tricia Byrnes, who is friends with a local elementary school teacher, talked us all into going to visit some elementary students. I'm sure if I was a kid I'd be excited to meet a bunch of Olympians, and all these kids were real happy. We got in a room with a fourth grade class (I think) and they asked questions, and we explained snowboarding and signed autographs. The kids do get pretty excited. They've been hearing about the Olympics coming to Salt Lake City, but for them to really get someone in there finally they must have been pretty happy.

Now I'm going to Mammoth where I'll do some riding and work out in the sports center. I'll relax and try and stay healthy. We go back to Utah on Feb. 3 when we'll go through the team processing and get our uniforms. (I'd love to wear my own stuff and be my own person, but it's only a week and it is the Olympics.) Then we'll have about four days of practice before the Olympic competition.