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Shaun Palmer - Starts Mountain Biking In 1995

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In 1995 Palmer borrowed a friend's mountain bike and began spending time with veteran mountain bikers, watching their moves, learning their techniques, and beginning to race now and then. He proved to be a quick study. In the second World Cup race of the 1996 season, held in Nevegal, Italy, Palmer, the new kid on the block, shocked veteran mountain biking observers by finishing the downhill event in seventh place. In July 1996, he won first place in the downhill at the NORBA Championships in Big Bear Lake, California. The event drained Palmer so completely that he could hardly speak after winning. Marti Stephens, mountain biking editor of Racer X Illustrated, told Rob Buchanan of Outside: "He pushed his body to the max, and at the finish line he was bent over, moaning, 'Oh … I gotta get in shape.'" By the end of the biking season, Palmer was number five in the World Cup rankings and seventh in the NORBA National Championship Series. So impressive was his debut that in 1997 he was signed by the Mountain Dew-Specialized Bicycles team to a long-term contract.

Long before he got into biking, Palmer had fallen in love with motocross, racing in local events in Carson City, Nevada, ever since he was a boy. Soon he was competing in extreme snowboarding, mountain biking, and motocross events in Winter X Games competition. At the Winter X Games of 1997, Palmer finished first in the downhill biking competition and first in the boarder X snowboard competition. He successfully defended his boarder X title at the 1998 games. He entered the snocross snowmobile competition and skier X skiing competition at the 1999 Winter X Games, finishing 15th and sixth, respectively. At the same games in 1999, he placed 14th in the biker X competition and first in the boarder X snowboard competition. At the Winter X Games of 2000, Palmer showed a vast improvement in his skiing skills, finishing first in the skier X competition and fourth in the boarder X contest. At the 2001 games, he won gold in the ultracross competition and placed 12th in the boarder X contest. At the 2002 games, Palmer first sixth in the boarder X snowboard competition.

One of the greatest athletes in extreme sports, Palmer also has expanded into business, opening Palmer Snow-boards in 1995. He serves the Minnesota-based company as chief executive officer and also captains the company's snowboarding team. The team's members include Andy Finch, Abe Teter, Alisa Mokler, Chris Nelson, Jonnel Janewicz, and Brandon Ruff. Palmer also serves as a consultant to Activision Inc. in the development of extreme sports video games. His "bad boy" attitude has brought Palmer his fair share of negative press. The fans may love his rebellious spirit, but it's worn a little thin with some of his fellow sportsmen and the media. Helping to redeem him in the eyes of knowledgeable observers is Palmer's undeniable talent. As Rob Buchanan wrote in Outside, "Palmer would have remained nothing more than a minor footnote in the annals of sports thuggery if not for one critical fact. Behind all the posturing and acting out, he was, and is, an extraordinary talent."

Chronology

1968 Born November 12 in San Diego, California
1980 Makes his first snowboard
1985 Enters first junior pro snowboard race
1992 Begins drinking heavily after the death of his grandmother
1995 Founds Palmer Snowboards
1997 Signed by Mountain Dew-Specialized Bicycles team

Awards and Accomplishments

1997 Gold medal in downhill biking and boarder X competitions at Winter X Games
1998 Gold medal in boarder X competition at Winter X Games
1999 Placed first in Swatch Boardercross Tournament
1999 Gold medal in boarder X competition at Winter X Games
1999 Won dual slalom biking event at NORBA National championship
2000 Won Pike's Peak Hill Climb auto race
2000 Gold medal in skier X competition at Winter X Games
2001 Named Action Sports Athlete of the Year by ESPN
2001 Gold medal in ultracross competition at Winter X Games
2002 Won skiercross event at Gravity Games
Shaun Palmer - Chronology [next] [back] Shaun Palmer - Born In San Diego

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