Fletcher makes U.S. snowboard team for Olympics

Posted: Sunday, January 06, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Girdwood snowboarder Rosey Fletcher is headed for the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City for her second attempt to win a cherished Olympic medal.

With her second-place showing in an Oregon qualifying race, the 26-year-old Fletcher, along with Lisa Kosglow of Boise, Idaho, now hold a commanding lead in the points race for the four-woman Olympic squad.

''I'm really excited,'' Fletcher said in a call on her cellular phone from Mount Bachelor, Ore. ''I'm proud to be going. I'm excited to be representing Alaska.''

Mainly, though, the Girdwood boarder confessed to being happy to put the U.S. qualifying process behind her.

Despite entering the Olympic season as one of the world's best snowboarders, Fletcher still had to rack up enough points in five races to make her second U.S. Olympic team.

She grabbed a spot after just three races.

She was the first American, fifth overall, at the first race in Whistler, in Canada, and the second American at the second event in Park City, Utah. The race at Mount Bachelor, near Bend, Ore., put her in.

Her schedule didn't allow her time to linger at Bachelor to celebrate her Olympic qualification or watch her sisters compete in the snowboard competitions scheduled Saturday. She headed off to Europe for more World Cup competition.

While most of the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team is expected to gather in Utah weeks before their events, Fletcher said she plans to continue competing overseas almost until the last minute.

''I'm actually staying in Europe for three more World Cups,'' Fletcher said. ''I want to do the World Cup. Taking a break that I don't usually take just throws my routine off.''

Fletcher's first Olympics in Nagano, Japan, was a disappointment. Considered a contender for an Olympic medal, she fell on her first run, taking herself out of the competition in the head-to-head format of the parallel giant slalom.

It didn't take Fletcher long to rebound on the World Cup circuit, and last year she posted her best international results. She won three World Cup events, finishing second in another and third in three. She was second at the World Championships.

When World Cup points were tallied, Fletcher was ranked the third-best parallel giant slalom racer in the world.

She has not started as well this year, however,hovering just below the top-three spots in international competition.

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