Brazilian racer Clark Ribeiro about South American snowboarding
Following up the latest part of the '20 years of snowboarding' series which dealt with some new continents the FIS Snowboard World Cup had visited over the past years, FISSnowboard.com also talked to Isabel Clark Ribeiro (BRA).
The Brazilian snowboard cross racer competed in her first ever World Cup event in Tignes (FRA) back in November 2000 and will enter her 15th season with 93 World Cup starts to her belt.
Although the 37-year-old goofy riders hasn't earned a podium yet, the three-time Olympian (2006, 2010 and 2014) has the firs still in her.
Clark Ribeiro achieved her so far best results finishing sixth in the first World Cup race in Vallnord (AND) last winter, but here is what she had to say when asked to remember the first events on South American soil and being a winter sport athlete from South America.
Isabel Clark Ribeiro: My first FIS race was a Giant Slalom in Chile in 1997. And in 2001, the World Cup came to South America for the first time. It was great to have all the organization in Chile, all the athletes and sponsors. The whole event was a great happening. I was really excited with everything, especially the high level of the athletes.
The tour was in Chile in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007. Nokia played a very important whole and all the events were great! The tour also went to Argentina in 2008 and 2009 and they did an awesome job, especially with the course which was very long, technical and big!
When I started to have some decent results in SBX for Brazil, it opened the eyes of my federation when in 2003 SBX became an Olympic sport.
In South America in general when the events started to come, it pushed the sport too, and especially motivated riders who tried their best to do well at World Cup events. But it seams that the Chilean and Argentineans didn't get much support from their country, and I remember riders like Manuel Diaz going for the World Championships by their own.
Also Franz Baher from Chile did a lot of the Halfpipe World Cups, and Mariano Lopez did many SBX events. Diego Linares from Argentina a few years later also competed in many SBX World Cups. Iñaqui Irrarazaval from Chile also did a few SBS events.
Athletes are still struggling to go forward and to have good support like Steven Williams from Argentina who didn't qualify for Sochi by one spot on the international quota list!
But anyway, I am very proud of my federation and grateful that our president Stefano Arnhold keeps on pushing forward the sport and fights to have more snowboard events in South America.
So, I do hope the World Cup tour will come back to South America one time, because even with all the difficulties, it brings more visibility for the sport, for the riders and sponsors interested.