Westminster College Student Wins SBX World Cup in Japan
Sophomore Graham Watanabe Takes 2nd World Cup Victory
GUJO-GIFU, Japan – Westminster sophomore Graham Watanabe rode through heats keeping little mistakes to a minimum to win the sixth Nokia Snowboard Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) World Cup snowboardcross competition of the season today. It was Watanabe's second World Cup victory.
“It was my day in my home country. My parents come from Japan so I kind of felt the power. It's an honor for me to win here," Watanabe said. "The whole season, I was riding pretty good but always had some tiny mistakes in the semi finals. That was different today."
It was an incredible race for Watanabe as he beat 58 other men, including current World Cup leader Stian Sivertzen of Norway, who finished second. Alex Pullin of Australia finished third.
Watanabe, an Idaho native and Westminster student, last won a snowboardcross World Cup in Valle Nevado, Chile, on Sept. 17, 2004. Heading to Chile started out as a trip with a friend and ended with Watanabe on everyone's SBX radar.
Today's results are Watanabe's best this season since finishing fifth in two events in Valle Nevado in September and pushed him into fourth place in the snowboardcross World Cup standings. Watanabe was also sixth in a SBX World Cup in Sungwoo, Korea, a week ago.
The World Cup competitions continue in Japan Saturday with a halfpipe competition and wrap up Sunday with parallel giant slalom.
Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup
Gujo-Gifu, Japan - Feb. 22, 2008
1. Graham Watanabe, USA (Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT)
2. Stian Sivertzen, Norway
3. Alex Pullin, Australia
4. Stefano Pozzolini, Italy
5. Mario Fuchs, Austria
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu. For more information on the U.S. Snowboarding Team, visit www.ussnowboarding.com.