Saturday, October 31, 2009

From the Elk Grove Citizen Newspaper (10/23/09)

Notebook: Winter Olympics a possibility for snowboarder

By John Hull - Citizen Sports Writer
Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009 3:44 PM PDT
There have been Elk Grove-based athletes participate in the Summer Olympics, just as recently as Stephanie Cox with the gold-medal winning USA soccer team.

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.

How it all started

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.

A Brief intro...

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 France (to name a few). Doing well in these events will lead me to my goal of competing at the February 2010 Olympic Trials.
I have been fortunate enough to obtain two major sponsors to help cover registration, and it has truly been a blessing! Currently, I am seeking sponsorships to assist in travel and accomodation expenses. Your sponsorship of this event will ultimately be an investment in my future, and will undoubtedly be accepted with the highest gratitude. Thank you for considering sponsorship of my first ever World Cup Tour!