Ståle Sandbech (28) clinched second place in slopestyle in Laax, Switzerland. With that, he secured Norway’s fourth Olympic place in snowboarding, but he does not know if he will go to Beijing.
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– I have been confirmed that I get a place now, so I have to think about it a bit. I have not decided whether I choose to leave or not, Sandbech says something surprising to VG after the second place was secured.
Bærumsgutten took silver in slopestyle in Sochi in 2014 and is according to national team coach Marius Håker the one who has been employed the longest in the Brettforbundet.
– What is the reason why you may not go?
– You may have to wait and see, Sandbech answers cryptically.
National team manager Marius Håker says that Sandbech himself does not want to leave if he does not feel that he has the chance to fight for the top places.
– When he entered that competition here, he was a little unsure of his own skills compared to the field he will compete in. But now that he manages to secure a podium place, it will of course be included in the assessment of whether he goes to the Olympics. He will not only be a participant, he will have the chance to fight for a medal, Håker explains to VG.
– How do you look at it if he does not choose to go to the Olympics?
– It’s up to him, he must want to do the tricks he has to do in a track. If he does not want it himself, we will not force him to do anything, says the national team coach and continues:
– But clearly we want to take him to the Olympics. He shows how good he is and how much experience he has. It’s also fun that he puts in place the younger garden today.
Hanne Eilertsen, Marcus Kleveland and Mons Røisland are already qualified for the games in Beijing.
– It’s lovely when it’s sitting. I will not lie, I have struggled a bit with form lately and have not quite found the good feeling, says Sandbech.
– Down here I have only managed to readjust, had fun and the conditions have been completely epic. Just cost me.
The Norwegian came in second place, only 0.48 points behind American Sean Fitzsimons, who won with a score of 80.91. American Jake Canter, who is ten years younger than Sandbech, came in third place.
– I have been called a veteran for quite some time by VG, so I have become a little used to it. Here I was the oldest of the guys, with quite a lot too, he says and laughs a little.
– Are you going to bet for another four years towards another Olympics?
– It is probably coming to an end with this type of competition. But it will certainly not be four more years. I can not spin around as much as these little paws, the medal wholesaler answers.
The Norwegian secured the Norwegian national team the third Olympic place in the semifinals in Laax. But Sandbech still highlights another part of the competition as the most stressful.
– There was more stress around the qualifiers. When I came to the semis, I felt that there were more chances, he says.
The X Games in Aspen in the USA are the next competition for snowboarders, and Saturday’s second place has given more taste to Sandbech.
– I have finally got the good feeling. It’s dead fat to snowboard and do these great tricks. I enjoy the trip. Now the X Games is next, and then I will try to put in even a little more gunpowder, a little more Viking blood, he says.