MT. BACHELOR, Ore. — Hood River snowboarder and Olympic hopeful Anton Pogue inched closer to a spot on the 2002 U.S. Olympic team by winning the first parallel giant slalom qualifying event Jan. 4 at Mt. Bachelor.
Pogue also took the $10,000 winner’s purse by upsetting 1998 Olympian Chris Klug of Aspen, Colo., who qualified in fifth place.
“This race was classic,” Pogue said. “Klug and I have a history with these gates at Bachelor. I knew he was a little hot under the collar because he thought I jumped the gate in the first run, while I thought I nailed it.”
The controversy arose after Klug drew two fouls for leaving the start gate early. The first one was overturned when the U.S. Snowboard Team protested. But the second came during the final run against Pogue, and gave Pogue the win.
Pogue slipped out on his first run of the semifinals, but came back to reach the finals when he won the second run.
“I was nervous on the second run, but I just kept telling myself to nail this run and not worry about anything else,” he said.
Olympic selection is based on placings in the qualification. Pogue currently sits third in the standings behind Jeff Greenwood of Hartford, Conn., who has already qualified, and Peter Thorndike (origin unlisted). Klug, Eric Warren and Ryan McDonald of Entiat, Wash., are chasing Pogue for the final spot.
Final selection for the team will be made based on a rider’s two best results in five PGS events. The last two events are World Cups in Kreischberg, Austria, and Bardonecchia, Italy.