Callan Chythlook-Sifsof’s Olympic dream ended in disappointment Saturday with the announcement of a U.S. snowboardcross team that does not include the 24-year-old from Girdwood.
It was a heartbreaker for Chythlook-Sifsof, a 2010 Olympian who was in the mix for one of three spots on the U.S. team.
In a post on her Facebook page, Chythlook-Sifsof delivered the news with class and a touch of poignancy.
“Thank you for the unbelievable support and encouragement throughout this Olympic season,” she wrote. “Through two consecutive seasons of injury and recovery, it has been one of the toughest seasons yet. I am thankful for the opportunity to be in Olympic consideration and although I did not make the 2014 Olympic team, I am so proud to have given it my all and put my best on the line. Looking forward to cheering on my teammates in Sochi!”
A knee injury in February 2012 ended the 2011-12 season prematurely for Chythlook-Sifsof, who battled other injuries early this season as well. Even so, she teamed up with Lindsey Jacobellis for a World Cup silver medal in a team event last month.
Jacobellis, 28, missed the last two seasons entirely with injuries but came back stronger than ever this season and will headline the three-woman U.S. snowboardcross team in Sochi, Russia. She claimed the gold medal at the X Games on Friday, an event in which Chythlook-Sifsof finished 10th, third among U.S. riders.
The other Olympic spots went to Faye Gulini and Jackie Hernandez, both 21. Gulini is an Olympic veteran and Hernandez is an Olympic rookie.
“Jackie and Faye all ended up having better results than Callan,” U.S. coach Peter Foley said Saturday morning after announcing the snowboardcross team. “She really had good speed this year but had a hard time putting it together in the races.
“I think she felt a lot of pressure in the qualifying process. It was disappointing for me and for her that she didn’t have the kind of races she needed.”
Team selections were based on World Cup individual results, the U.S. Snowboard Team said. In four World Cup events this season, Chythlook-Sifsof posted finishes of 15th, 19th, 23rd and 24th. Gulini had finishes of 10th, 16th, 22nd and 26th, and Hernandez had finishes of 6th, 9th, 12th and 29th. The 10th-place finish at the World Cup in Lake Louise, Alberta, proved a critical result for Gulini.
At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Chythlook-Sifsof became the first Alaska Native to compete in the Games. She crashed in both of her preliminary runs and failed to advance to the finals.
Reach Beth Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-
By BETH BRAGG
Anchorage Daily News / adn.com