Parallel slalom snowboarder Justin Reiter makes Olympic Team

By Hayli Goode

Justin Reiter discovered Tuesday morning at 10:30 that living out of his Toyota Tundra for the summer had been worth it.


He sat in his favorite coffee shop in Steamboat, Colo., working on thank-you notes and eating a breakfast burrito.

Still not certain of his athletic future, he was struggling to thank his supporters. So Reiter decided to put his fate in his own hands. He emailed the Olympics US Snowboarding Team editor, begging to at least know when a decision would be made. Within minutes, he received a call.

“She told me they wanted to construct the best team they possibly could for the Olympics—then she paused for a long time. I was sure I didn’t make it. But she finished with ‘you’re a part of that team’,” Reiter said.

This is Reiter’s third attempt at making the Olympic Team. At 32, the Parallel Slalom snowboarder says he is about to live his 20-year-old dream.

After missing the mark by one spot in the 2006 Olympics, injuring his knee cap before the 2010 Olympics and retiring from the sport for two years, Reiter came back in 2013 because of “unfinished business with snowboarding.”

“It was the perfect catalyst for me to return,” Reiter said. “I took a different approach. Said [I was] not doing this for results—I’m doing this because I love to do it. That’s what it’s about. And since that time, that’s been my main focus.”

And he sure has taken a different approach. He did not miss a day of training, even in the 5-month off-season. In order to save money, he opted to live out of his truck this summer in Park City, Utah.

As he continues to pursue the Olympics, Reiter says he has a whole new mindset.

“There’s so much pressure about going to the Olympics,” Reiter said. He attributed his competition losses to that pressure.

“Now I’m really excited to have the opportunity just to enjoy the ride,” Reiter said. “It’s been a long time coming. But that’s kind of how everything in my life has been. It’s always been kind of a drive. It’s never been easy.”

Reiter will be the only American competing in the Alpine Snowboarding event, airing Feb. 23, on NBC at the 2014 Winter Olympics.


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