January 31 2006, 11:34 PM
We coulda sworn he was a shoe-inâ€¦ Veteran snowboarder Chris Klug was on his way to the winter Olympics this year in Torino. No question. That's why we chose him for the opening spread of our Atmosphere section for the February issue. In an article running alongside a picture of the two-time Olympian and 2002 bronze medalist, we praised the Colorado-born Klug's efforts to promote organ donation and even prophesized his run for gold this year. But alas, Sunday (long after 5280 had already gone to press) we were reminded that nothing is definite in the world of sports. After day-long hearings last week, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association named Tyler Jewell the lone Parallel Giant Slalom snowboarder to the 16-man Olympic team Sunday -- not the Colorado-born Klug. The hearings were held to consider Klug's challenge to the association's original selection criteria: Jewell was nominated to the team based on the higher average of his two best World Cup points results. Klug questioned the interpretation, arguing that his 15th and 16th place World Cup finishes were better results than Jewell's 9th and 24th place finishes. Friday they decided to uphold the criteria. "I'm bummed, but will bounce back strong,â€? Klug told us in an e-mail. "I don't agree with the application of the criteria, but I accept the decision. Time to move on. I'll be freeriding and training at home in Aspen the next month, preparing for a strong finish to the season following the Games.â€? In his official statement he congratulates Jewell.