Making Team USA: Nate Roberts

The following is an excerpt from an article published at

Most likely, Nate Roberts will hear his name called when the 2010 US Olympic moguls team is announced on January 26, thanks to his recent podium at a World Cup event in Finland. But he can’t relax. He can’t coast. He is still haunted by what happened four years ago.

Welcome to his nightmare.

In early 2006, he was also vying for a berth on the Olympic team. Then, as now, it was crunch time.

Roberts was the 2005 world champion in moguls but it didn’t matter. The US had so much talent that he needed a top-three finish at a World Cup event to qualify for the team. His last chance to make the cut for Torino was on January 22, in Lake Placid, New York, and it all came down to one run.

Roberts placed third in the preliminary round which gave him an advantageous starting spot in the final. As the third-to-last skier to compete, he stood at the top of the run knowing: “I just need to make it down [cleanly] and I’d make the Olympics.”

Off the first jump, Roberts did a “back full” (a backflip with a twist) – a move borrowed from his childhood career in aerials – but when he landed, his pole snapped. He skied the rest of the run with the broken pole, but four bumps from the bottom, he made a costly mistake.

And that was it.

Seventh place.

The reigning world champion would not compete at the Olympics.

His decade-and-a-half-old dream had just unraveled in 24.1 seconds, and his parents had flown in from Utah to witness it.

Click here to read the entire article.


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