Over the past decade, the U.S. Snowboarding halfpipe team has proven to be an international powerhouse in Olympic competition. The mastermind behind the dominant operation? Coach Rick Bower, who has been named the 2011 Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). Bower, hailing from Park City, Utah, has been praised and recognized for playing a major role in advancing women’s snowboarding, leading his athletes to 31 major event podiums in 2011. It was the third time since 2002 that a U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe coach has been named Coach of the Year. Bower proudly accepted the award at the 2012 USOC’s National Coach’s Conference in Indianapolis.
Bower, who brought home the Gold Medal in 1999 in the halfpipe competition, is in his sixth year of coaching and has been a huge influence in Women’s Snowboarding.
President and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assocation Bill Marolt quoted “Rick Bower is a great example of how a coach’s leadership applied to athletes can be a major difference maker in athletic success. Rick’s vision along with his ability to create a team environment,apply technical knowledge and to communicate has led to success not only from athletes like Olympic champion Kelly Clark but from an entire team. As an organization, our investment in coaches like Rick has been a real game changer across all of our sports.”
Under the wing of Bower, U.S. snowboarding riders have set the bar high in halfpipe international competition. With his help, his riders have performed brilliantly, assisting him in earning the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association International Coach of the Year in 2011.
U.S. Snowboarding riders have won 12 of 18 Olympic halfpipe medals in the last three Olympics including four of six medals; a dynasty in the making.
One of Bower’s publicly known accomplishments lies in helping Olympic champion Kelly Clark (with whom he is seen with in the featured image at the top of the article) to become the first woman to land a 1080 in halfpipe competition.
When asked about the leadership of Coach Bower, champion Kelly Clark states “Behind every great athlete is a great team of people. I’m just one of many athletes who have had the privilege of working with Ricky. He really deserves this award and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
If you have yet to see this feat, here’s a quick clip of Kelly Clark pulling off the impressive 1080, in which Bower helped coach and pioneer for women’s snowboarding.
Get it Girl!
“I feel this award speaks for the overall progress of the sport of halfpipe snowboarding and I feel very fortunate to be a part of that progression”, tells Coach Rick Bower after receiving his coveted Coach of the Year award. “Our U.S. Snowboarding athletes make my job easy – they are all so internally motivated, and on such a high level of performance collectively, that they are able to continually push each other to achieve athletic success. This dynamic is equally fun to be a part of seeing as most of these athletes are great friends on and off the snow as well as being each other’s top competition.”
Congratulations to Coach Rick Bower and his team on the award. Best of luck in upcoming international competition, especially the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, looks like a bright future lies ahead in years to come!