Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This week was no different than the last three; stressing over event registration, getting my passport paperwork, trying to figure out WHAT ON EARTH all of the French Websites are telling me about getting to and from here, taking shuttles there, and so on and so on...
One thing that did catch me eye was a message left for me as I arrived at work last week. "Kenneth someone named Dr. Kwan left a message for you - he said something about seeing you on KCRA and left his number."
...and WOW, THANK YOU KCRA!!! By some fortunate "accident", Dr Kwan had seen the footage on KCRA and said he had just the thing that could help to achieve my edge.
It turns out Arthur Kwan runs a not so typical dental practice up in Rocklin, CA. He wanted to introduce me to some new technology that's starting to blow up in the sports world. It's called a PPM, or "Pure Power Mouthguard". It comes in the form of a "mouthpiece", and has already undergone some in-depth testing with athletes all over the world. Dr. Kwan was nice enough to extend to me the opportunity to try one out!
Last night I went in for the fitting. The staff was amazing, and everyone was well educated on the benefits of using this technology. After taking a few molds of my teeth, we had come up with two different molds to work with. This is where things got interesting...
Now I'm completely aware that in every industry there are gimmicks. Everyone out there has something to make you faster, stronger, or more agile...and quite often they're too good to be true. When Dr. Kwan described some of the IMMEDIATE benefits, I was definitely skeptical. However, after experiencing the benefits firsthand, I was blown away.
We started with some simple strength and balance tests; Something to show how the human body acts when it aligns itself, and once again with the jaw and head "locked" in proper alignment. The difference was "jaw dropping" (literally...). The flexibility tests were astounding. I did some simple stretches, once normally, and once again with the test mouthpiece in. "WOW" is the only word that comes to mind.
Im very fortunate to have this type of support, especially in a sport where explosive strength and agility is a must. Not to mention trying to figure out how to breathe properly when your going all-out at high altitude. I cant wait to feel the difference when my PPM is finished!
Thank you so much Dr. Kwan and everyone at NuSmile Sacramento. For the rest of you following along, take a look for yourselves!!!
The MAKKAR PPM Official Website
Dr. Kwan's office: NuSmile Sacramento
Friday, December 11, 2009
What an unbelievable night!
Brian Hickey from KCRA contacted me a few days ago to let me know that the interview we did at Mikuni Elk Grove would air Wednesday night on the 6pm news. With alot of anticipation and a much needed boost after the bad news about France, the story aired as scheduled just before 630pm. With a little adjustment to the TV's at work, we all watched live as the story aired.
Brian and I talked a bit about exactly what it takes at this stage for a Snowboard Cross racer to make it into the Olympic Games. I clarified that the sport was relatively new, making its debut at the last Winter Games in Torino, Italy in 2006, and that there were a few things that need to happen in order for a rider to be "qualified".
The clip came out wonderfully, and I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. I came home to a flood of messages from friends and family that had a chance to see the story. In addition, two Fil-Am organizations contacted me about possible fundraisers and / or sponsorships. For that I'm extremely grateful, this is exactly the publicity I was lacking up to this point.
Regarding the story, there were just a couple things that I wanted to clarify regarding why I chose to take this "untraditional" route towards a possible Olympic career...
Some have asked why I chose to represent The Philippines since it was so complicated compared to competing as a U.S team member. For me, the choice wasn't complicated at all. My Grandmother has been the foundation of the Filipino culture in my family. In the same way that proffessional Basketball and Baseball players represent their "home countries" during Olympic time, I chose to do something similar. This is my way of having not only pride in the culture that has contributed so much to my upbringing, but also as a means of saying Thank You to my Grandmother, and the opportunities she provided for our family so many decades ago as they moved to the US. I took some time to go into detail about this during my KCRA interview, but understandably it was cut out to keep within the time restrictions.
Once again, I have to thank you all for your support and energy. I will attach a link to the clip (HERE)
Also a big thanks to the incoming support from:
Towards the end of November, it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to afford to travel to the FIS Pre-Lim qualifier in France. I had to suck it up, rethink my plans, and start building energy for the next qualifier. Just two days ago I received an email from the head of registration for that event. The event was CANCELLED due to "poor snowfall conditions", with a brief "sorry about that" listed at the end. This started to make me wonder just HOW the rest of the athletes are able to deal with these sudden and unforeseeable changes. If I had booked the $1500+ travel and accomodations package for that event and received that same email, I would have been completely devastated. I can only imagine how many athletes that already reserved their spot at this event must feel.
So for now, the clock ticks...
One less event to build the neccessary points to make it to World Cup, and the deadline is only getting closer.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Slopes bring satisfaction
Family is proud of his feats
With 86 days until the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Kenneth Carson is looking to earn Olympic gold as a part of the Republic of the Philippines' snowboard cross team.
Each country can send up to 18 competitors to the Olympics and since Carson has dual Philippine-American citizenship, he decided to try out for the Philippines' National Team.
"People may look at it as a loophole, the way I looked at it was from a cultural aspect," he said. "It is me saying thank you to the culture that has had the biggest effect on me and made me who I became."
He said snowboard cross is a test of vigor and willpower.
"Snowboard cross is all-out adrenaline racing," Kenneth Carson said. "There are between four and six racers lined up in a set of gates. After a certain cadence the gates drop and you all race to the bottom. It is pretty intense, first one down wins."
Kenneth Carson started snowboarding when he was 17 years old. He has been snowboarding competitively for four years. He said he has to make up for his lack of experience in snowboard cross with his love for the sport.
"I got off to a little bit of a late start compared to a lot of the people I snowboard with. I didn't get to start when I was 10 or 11 years old," he said. "I took it on and became talented in what I do."
A snowboard cross race usually takes one to two minutes to complete. Kenneth Carson said some courses have jumps as high as 60 feet and would not be surprised if he reached 50 mph in any given race.
Kenneth Carson's family said his passion for snowboarding outweighs the concerns about him competing in what can be a dangerous sport.
"I am scared of him getting injured, but he is doing something he loves. You can get injured walking across the street," said Kerry Carson, Kenneth's father.
Although he has earned his way on the Philippines' National Team, Kenneth Carson still has some work to do in order to guarantee his spot in Vancouver.
"No one is officially qualified yet. We have a few preliminary events in December. If you make a minimum point total at the cutoff period then you are officially qualified," he said.
Kenneth Carson must finish in the top 30 at a World Cup event and earn 100 FIS points by Jan. 25 if he wants to earn a spot on the 2010 Philippines' Olympic National Team.
"The race against time right now is pretty crucial. The World Cup has already started this season, the first stop was in Argentina (during) the whole first week of this semester," he said.
He said the next World Cup event is in Colorado in the beginning of December. He said he will probably skip that event to go to another preliminary qualifying event in Japan.
Kenneth Carson said school, snowboarding and work as the floor manager at Mikuni Sushi in Elk Grove keep him busy.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Registration, Passport Photos, Registration, Copies, Mail, Registration again. Its been a long week, and its only TUESDAY. Yesterday I finished up an interview with the Sac State Hornet newspaper for a sports feature due out within the next two weeks. This morning I met up with Brian Hickey from KCRA for an interview at Mikuni Elk Grove. We chatted about the upcoming season, the competitions going on worldwide, and exactly what its going to take for an athlete to make it to Vancouver 2010. My first eligible event would be a European Continental Cup race in December. Europe?!...I've never even been out of North America. The race takes place at Isola2000, France on the 18th and 19th. If I can gather enough financial backing within the next 2 weeks or so, I'm THERE. Enough points at the Euro-Cup means a start at the World Cup. Enough points by January 25th can mean a spot at the Olympic Games.
I've received some gigantic support from some great people these past few weeks, and I'm flattered to say the least. Yesterday I was even "pulled over" on my way home by a friend from here in Sacramento (Thank you again Maribeth!). This week is already big for the Philippines Team, Jondre is on his way to Copper Mountain, CO for some much needed qualification points, and Eden is prepping for the FIS World Cup stop in Telluride, CO. JR from Italy is due to make his appearance soon, and so am I. The season will be in full swing within a month, I'm eager to get out there and represent!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Notebook: Winter Olympics a possibility for snowboarder
By John Hull - Citizen Sports Writer
The Winter Games have not been as populated.
That may end next year in Vancouver, British Columbia, when Kenneth Carson enters into the Snowboard Cross event.
“It’s like moto-cross, except there’s no motor under you,” Carson, a manager of a local restaurant when he’s not on his snowboard, said. “You usually compete against three other snowboarders. A gate drops down and then you navigate a course with lots of jumps and rhythm bumps and you’re finished in about a minute and a half.”
What makes the story even more intriguing is that Carson won’t compete for the USA team. His dad is a citizen of the Phillipines so through a loophole in the rules, he’ll be a representative of that country.
“This past season was my best, placing first in all of my amateur regional events as well as taking home silver from the USASA Nationals in Colorado,” he added. “With my acceptance onto the Philippines National Team, I was invited to participate in the FIS World Cup for my discipline. The next stop is in Colorado in December, followed by stops in Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland to name a few.”
The problem for Carson is that he needs to raise some money to make the trips necessary to qualify for the Winter Olympics. His employer, Mikuni Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, has provided the money to this point to compete in events. Carson is a floor manager of the restaurant on Bond Road.
Kenneth Anthony Carson was born on June 2, 1981 in Sacramento, California. His parents, Carrie Graham and Kerry Carson, split when he was 2 and he was raised with his biracial Filipino and African American father in a household that emphasized athletics and discipline. Kenneth played baseball all throughout high school and it wasn’t until after that he realized his passion and skill for snowboarding. His persistence and determination led him to begin competing in the extreme sport of Boardercross. Equivalent to the popular sport of Motocross but on a snowboard, Boardercross combines speed, jumps and sharp turns as racers fly down a narrow snow packed course to the finish line.
After a few short seasons of local competition, Kenneth decided to take his passion to the next level. In the 2008-2009 Winter, he finished his most eventful season to date. After taking first place in the majority of the local Tahoe regional events, in April of 2009, Kenneth earned a spot at the USASA National Championships in Copper Mountain, Colorado. He would compete in his main event, Boardercross, and a few minor events. With his Mother and sister in the crowd, Kenneth made his way through the field of competitors, graduating into the Boardercross Finals. After an exhausting final run, Kenneth crossed the finish line in second place, taking home the Silver Medal. The rest of the week also proved successful, with a 4th place finish in Men’s Slalom and a 6th place finish in Men’s Giant Slalom.
During the 2009 offseason, Kenneth came across the media coverage of a local competitor affiliated with the Republic of the Philippines. After some research and communication with the head of the committee, he learned that the Philippines was in the process of assembling a winter sports team. As a 2nd generation multi-racial Filipino-American, Kenneth filed the needed paperwork to compete under the Republic of the Philippines Flag. The good news came in the form of an email in mid July, when the Philippine Ski Federation welcomed Kenneth to the roster of the 2009-2010 team.
As a member of the Philippines National Team, the door has been opened to compete internationally. The International Ski Federation (FIS) hosts events across the globe, including stops in Argentina, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. The 2009-2010 season is a Winter Olympic year, and enough points this year will mean a possible spot at Olympic Trials.
For Kenneth, competing at this level would be a dream come true. More importantly, representing his family and a culture that has been such a prominent part of his life would be a tremendous achievement. As a proud Filipino American athlete from Northern California, Kenneth hopes to represent his family, friends, and entire community. His ultimate goal is to not only bring home gold, but to also be a positive representation of what it means to be Filipino American and an influential role model and trailblazer for others like him.
Thank you all for taking the time to visit. As most of you know, it has been a great off-season, and I look forward to the opportunity to compete overseas in a major olympic qualification snowboarding series! In December, I will be joining the FIS World Cup Tour which has already begun in Argentina, and will continue on through April 2010 in The U.S, Austria, Switzerland, and ). Doing well in these events will lead me to my goal of competing at the February 2010 Olympic Trials.