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San Diego athletes in the Winter Olympics

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Photo from 'hypergene' via Flickr

Photo from 'hypergene' via Flickr

The United States is just behind Germany in the Winter Olympic medal count with eight medals; Germany has won nine and France has won seven.

Each Olympic event offers its own form of competitive excitement, whether it be that of speed, tricks, special skills or even danger. One of the most exciting parts about watching the Olympics, however, is routing for your nation’s team—and perhaps knowing that one of those competitors is from your very own hometown.

Here in San Diego we have a lot to offer, and in terms of the 2010 Winter Olympics, this includes breeding some of the most talented and fearless athletes–even despite our lack of snow.

17-year-old US Figure Skater Rachael Flatt was born in Del Mar, California. Flatt began skating at the age of 4 and ever since has won several medals, including the silver medal at both the 2008 and 2009 US Figure Skating Championships, and in 2010 she earned the US National Champion title. As of January 2010, she is ranked 10th in the world. Be sure to look out for the beautiful, five foot tall American figure skater in the singles event.

41-year-old Shaun Palmer of San Diego, CA, is a competitor in snowboard cross. Also a professional mountain biker and skier, this well-known snowboarder was dubbed “The World’s Greatest Athlete” in 1998 by USA Today. With many tattoos (all of which have to do with Cadillacs), this 2010 Olympian is also known as “action sports’ foul-mouthed bad boy.” Palmer has won nine Winter X Games gold medals in four different disciplines. He is one of snowboarding’s most famous names, and he is of course one of the characters in the “Shaun Palmer’s Pro Snowboarder” video game. A well-rounded individual, he is also CEO of his own company—Palmer Snowboards.

Quite possibly the most talked about local athlete is 2006 Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, also known as “The Flying Tomato.” He was born in Carlsbad, CA. He spent his formative years riding at small resorts, such as Bear Mountain here in Southern California. At the age of 23, White has won 16 X Games medals in snowboarding and skateboarding, 10 of those gold in both the summer and winter X games. His incredible half pipe skills and his distinct red hair make him stand out amongst other snowboarders.

Redbull Project X assisted his training by sculpting a hidden, 550 foot long super pipe in the San Juan mountains. With much practice on Project X, White was able to pull off the first ever back-to-back double cork, a milestone in snowboarding tricks. Check out Shaun White’s secret super pipe below:

To keep up with your favorite Winter Olympic athletes, check the event schedule.

Go USA!

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