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Bad Gastein, Austria
-Snowboarding legend Shaun Palmer officially tossed his name into the Olympic hat Wednesday claiming second in a World Cup snowboardcross for his career first World Cup podium. Leading the majority of the final, “The Palm” made a minor mistake allowing Canadian Drew Neilson to slip by for the win. Xavier Delarue of France and Austrian Mario Fuchs filled out the top four. World Champion Seth Wescott was seventh.

Recently crowned U.S. SBX champ and legend in her own right Leslee Olson (Bend, OR) was the top American woman finishing sixth. Another Canadian Dominique Maltais won the event ahead of Olivia Nobs of Switzerland, Austrian Manuela Riegler and fellow Canadian Maelle Ricker. Marni Yamada (Seattle, WA), the only other American woman, finished 35th.

Shaun Palmer

Whether it’s BMX, skateboarding, motocross or Cadillac collecting, there isn’t much that Palmer hasn’t mastered and now he wants an Olympic medal. After dominating the X Games from 1997 to 2000, Palmer fell out of professional snowboarding, but when the Olympics welcomed SBX into the program, he wanted in. Wednesday’s top-four World Cup result was just the ticket he needed to solidify his status as an Olympic Team contender.

The criteria for making the U.S. Olympic SBX Team is:

1. Top-4 World Cup result
• Highest ’06 World Cup
• Second highest World Cup
• Highest world ranking

Action continues Thursday from Bad Gastein with a second SBX. The team will be named Jan. 21 at the final stop of the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix in Mountain Creek, N.J.

Bad Gastein, Austria
Snowboardcross, Jan. 4, 2006
1. Drew Neilson, Canada
2. Shaun Palmer, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
3. Xavier Delarue, France
4. Mario Fuchs, Austria
7. Seth Wescott, Farmington, Maine
11. Graham Watanabe, Sun Valley, Idaho
13. Jayson Hale, Sugarbowl, Calif.
19. Jason Smith, Basalt, Colo.
21. Nate Holland, Olympic Valley, Calif.
1. Dominique Maltais, Canada
2. Olivia Nobs, Switzerland
3. Manuela Riegler, Austria
4. Maelle Ricker, Canada
6. Leslee Olson, Bend, Ore.
35. Marni Yamada, Seattle, Wash.