Saturday July 13, 2013

DOVER -- Professional Snowboarder Kelly Clark is up for another Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award, or ESPY, in the Best Female Action Sports Athlete category.

"It's great to be nominated," said Clark. "It's always an honor. It's cool to see action sports highlighted in the mainstream sports world at events like the ESPYS."

This is Clark's fifth time being nominated for one of the categories in the ESPYS. In 2002 she won an ESPY for Best Action Sports Athlete. Back then, it wasn't split into a male or female category.

In 2011, she was nominated for Female Athlete of the Year and Best Female Action Sports Athlete, after winning the gold medal for halfpipe at the X-Games.

Olympic medalist Kelly Clark sits in the VIP tent at the 2009 Burton U.S. Open. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Olympic medalist Kelly Clark sits in the VIP tent at the 2009 Burton U.S. Open. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)

Voting for the 2013 ESPYS can be done at ESPN.go.com/espys/2013. The award ceremony will be broadcast on ESPN on July 17 at 9 p.m. with actor Jon Hamm hosting it. Voting ends when the show begins.

Clark grew up in Dover, where she started skiing at Mount Snow. She began snowboarding at the age of seven. During high school, she attended the Mount Snow Academy.

In July, Clark began training at Mount Hood, Ore., where many other snowboarders and skiers go to find snow in the summer. Her focus is on preparing for the Olympics, which is only seven months away.

Clark said she's coming off a good season this year.

"I didn't win all the events," she added. "But I won all the right events.


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Clark received a gold medal at the X-Games in Aspen, Colo., as well as in Tignes, France. She took first place at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colo. and the U.S Grand Prix at Copper, Colo.

As she prepares for the Olympics, Clark is spending a lot of time out on the snow, putting in lots of hours training.

"I feel ready," said Clark. "For me, it's kind of steering the ship straight. With it being so close right now, it's basically kind of tunnel vision right now."

She told the Reformer that she has been thinking about the Olympics for the past three and a half years. She anticipates a big year.

The qualifying events that lead to the Olympics tend to be more stressful for Clark. She mentioned the depth of talent from the United States alone.

When it comes to her goals, Clark is looking to make her fourth Olympic team and get back on the podium.

"If I've learned one thing, it's if you don't have it by the time of the event, you won't have it," she said. "I try to make sure my training is done before. All the tricks, I've done before. My experience goes a long way but if I'm not physically prepared, I won't be ready."

In 2010, Clark began her own scholarship program, the Kelly Clark Foundation. Since then, she has given out about $50,000 to kids all over the United States for scholarships that will assist with bringing their dreams of becoming professional snowboarders closer to reality.

Clark said it's nice to know that she's putting her efforts into something that is bigger than her and will outlast her current efforts.

"Basically, I got to a point in my career that I looked around, I had been very successful and I had no doubt that I was going to leave really great contest results, but I wanted to make sure I'd leave something more," she said. "I looked at my experience and the need in our sport. It's no secret that snow sports are very expensive and not always accessible. I wanted to make boarding more accessible."

A new round of scholarships is available for interested students. It is called Your Scholarship Program and it aims to assist students who want to attend mountain schools. The deadline is July 30.

For more information on the Kelly Clark Foundation or to apply for a scholarship, visit kellyclarkfoundation.org.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.