Martin’s effort gives Canada’s snowboard coach confidence

Ancaster’s Brad Martin placed sixth in the halfpipe finals of the first event of the 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup in Cardrona, New Zealand. Mercedes Nicoll of Whistler, B.C., placed eighth in the ladies finals.

“This result for Brad is great. He has not been on snow since June,” said Tom Hutchinson, head coach of the Canadian Halfpipe Snowboard team.

“He has been working hard on developing new tricks on the trampoline and getting in good physical shape for this important season. This contest shows that Brad is right on track to medal at Cypress Mountain for the Olympics.”

“Mercedes did very well in a tough field of play. The riders at this event are basically the ones we expect to see at the Olympics, both for women and men,” continued Hutchinson.
The first World Cup event of the season drew the World’s best riders to New Zealand. The riders showed off their latest tricks developed this summer in a Superpipe with walls elevated at 22-foot in the air, the same size to be used at Cypress Mountain during the Olympic Winter Games.

It was no surprise to see American Shaun White, the defending Olympic gold medallist, win the men’s event. White scored an impressive 47.1 points for his first run performance. He was joined on the podium by Switzerland’s Iouriin Podladtchikov (44.4) in second position and Japanese rider Kazuhiroin Kokubo (43.2) in third place. Martin scored 38.4 points.

In the ladies finals, the defending World Champion and Halfpipe World Cup defending champion, Jiayu Liu of China, took home the gold medal, scoring 44.1 points with an impressive first run. She was followed by Americans Kelly Clark (40.5) and Gretchen Bleiler (37.1) who took home the silver and bronze medals. Nicoll racked up 30.7 points.

The event finals went underway despite tough weather conditions. The strong and gusty winds created many delays throughout the day and made it challenging for the riders as they jump over 20 feet in the air as they display their top tricks.

The 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup now makes its way to South America as the world’s best snowboardcross riders will merge at Chapelco, Argentina on Sept. 12. The Snowboardcross events will showcase world class excitement as Canada’s top riders will battle for a coveted berth on the Olympic snowboard team.

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