Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Slopes bring satisfaction

Family is proud of his feats

Andrew Hazard

Issue date: 11/18/09 Section: Sports
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Kenneth Carson, senior business operations manager, will attempt to qualify for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Media Credit: Nallelie Vega
Kenneth Carson, senior business operations manager, will attempt to qualify for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
[Click to enlarge]
Kenneth Carson's family and friends have always admired him for his work ethic and kindness toward others. Now, he hopes to be the admiration of an entire nation.

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

Check...annnnd CHECK

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!
Kenneth C.