2014 Winter Olympics: 10 Interesting Facts About Kelly Clark
10 Interesting Facts About Kelly Clark
Since 2002, Women's Halfpipe at the Winter Olympics has been a guaranteed medal for the United States. That may not be the case at the Olympic Games in Sochi, but the one mainstay is still Kelly Clark. She got on a snowboard the first year it was allowed at Mount Snow in Vermont. At 30-years old, Clark may be considered old in the sport of halfpipe and often loses the spotlight to Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teter. Still, many consider Clark a trailblazer, and it is obvious that she is never satisfied.
To get back to the top of the podium, Clark will have to beat out Australian Torah Bright, the 2010 gold medalist in the halfpipe. Bright is hoping to compete in three sports in Sochi, but the halfpipe is still at the top of her list for a medal. With Clark focusing solely on this event, it may give her the edge. The two only faced off once this year, and Bright took the victory at iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge.
Clark was the first member of the team to qualify for Sochi and watched one of her biggest competitors, Bleiler, fall down the leaderboard. While Teter would ultimately grab the final discretionary spot, the team will feature two new faces. Kaitlyn Farrington and Arielle Gold secured the final two automatic bids to make the halfpipe team for Sochi. Farrington, 24, and Gold, 17, will be looking toward Clark and Teter for advice and leadership as they take the world's biggest stage.
It seems like Clark isn't aware of her competition as much as she has her eyes set on gold. Before she embarks on her quest, here are 10 interesting facts about her to help you get to know her better.
10. Halfpipe Dominance
Growing up in Vermont, Clark began snowboarding at the age of seven and is now heading to her fourth Olympics at the age of 30. In many ways, she is a pioneer for the women's halfpipe, but continues to work on her technique. She has made 15 World Cup starts while making 12 podiums and winning six times. Clark is the winningest halfpipe snowboarder of all time, male or female, with 60 career titles.
9. Kelly Clark Foundation
In 2010, Clark started her own nonprofit organization that gives youth a chance to show their skills on the fresh powder. The Foundation has given over $60,000 in scholarships to eliminate financial barriers for talented youth. Clark's mother is part of the staff at the foundation.
8. Training Program
Kelly Clark uses other sports she enjoys to stay in shape, including mountain biking and surfing. She has been surfing since the age of 12. She also swears by her warmup, which is non-weighted squats to get her legs going.
7. Cab 1080
The Cab 1080 is what Clark is hoping to land in Sochi. After already clinching the X Games, she tried to land three full rotations twice. She did not stick it at the X Games, but she has surely been working to perfect it.
6. X Games Crowns
It has been a playground for Clark at the X Games. She has won the last four halfpipe golds and has many other medals under her belt.
5. Family Restaurant
Clark's parents have owned an Italian restaurant in southern Vermont for over 30 years, and Kelly enjoys the artichoke heart pasta with chicken three or four times a year. She also says she can't go without ice cream, and it doesn't matter what kind.
4. Sponsors and Equipment
Clark's sponsors include Sprint, Burton and Giro. Burton and Swix Sports equip her for the events.
3. Long Way From Her First Board
Kelly's first board was a plastic Mobile Monster from Kmart. That first Burton board must have been quite the upgrade.
2. Social Media
Kelly is on all forms of social media, but is very active on Instagram and even created an account for her cat, Floyd the Lion.
1. Best Memory
Despite all of her titles, Clark says her bronze medal in 2010 means more to her based on what she had to battle and overcome after finishing fourth in Torino in 2006.