Nate Holland has been a star on the snowboarding scene since his first appearance at the Olympics in 2006. In snowboardcross, he’s won six gold medals at the Winter X Games, a bronze in the World Championships, and seventeen various medals at the World Cup, where he ranks third overall. He came in fourth at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, barely missing his shot at a medal, and now he’s heading back for more at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Although he lives in California now, Holland was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, making him a Pacific Northwest favorite. He got his start at Schweitzer Mountain, which is the largest ski resort in the area and a common destination for snow sport enthusiasts nearby. He is one of the biggest names to come out of Sandpoint, so he’s well-beloved there, as well as the state of Idaho at large and nearby eastern Washington.
Sochi Winter Olympics 2014
In 2010, Holland was leading for the gold medal in Vancouver when a small error pushed him back to fourth place. Although it must have been a discouraging loss, he remains optimistic about competing at Sochi. In an interview with Sandpoint Magazine, he was quoted as saying, “. . .I know I can do it. I thrive on big pressure races, and I just haven’t been able to do what I can do at the Olympics.” Given his past successes in other competitions and near-success at the Olympics in the past, he could be a heavy contender to bring home a win for the United States this year as long as he can overcome the competition.
One of the biggest obstacles to a victory for Holland is going to be Alex Pullin with the Australian snowboarding team. Pullin has won consecutive gold medals in the past two World Championships, beating out Holland himself, who only took home the bronze. He didn’t win in 2010, but he’s coming into the competition in Sochi fiercely dedicated to taking the gold. Another potential threat is going to be Tony Ramoin from the French team, who managed to take the bronze at the Olympics in Vancouver, placing just above Holland. Barring those two, there are a lot of great athletes in the snowboardcross competition this year, but none of them seem to match Holland’s skill or dedication.
From his modest roots in Sandpoint, Nate Holland has risen to become one of the most impressive contenders in snowboarding. He made it to the 2014 US Olympic Team despite a broken clavicle in December and has consistently shown himself to be one of the best in other competitions. As long as he keeps his focus and overcomes gold medal favorite Alex Pullin, he could get the gold. If not, he has a solid chance at the silver.