COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. – Like his mother, Brian Rice has spoken about every game.
Cat’s former professional boxer, Kat Bryur Rice, who, according to Bryan, was also good at basketball, softball and football, relieved his 16-year-old son from athleticism. And one more thing, too: her family tradition of occasional ski trips.
Sitting side-by-side on the couch in their small studio condo based on the slopes of Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado, mom and son love talking about each other’s athletic abilities, and how Reece is all at once. Gone – Bryan dreams of becoming the first African-American snowboarder to compete in the Olympics.
He was 4 years old when he began snowboarding in a ditch outside his home north of Detroit using an inexpensive plastic snowboard. However, it quickly became apparent that Rice had a talent and passion for the game. He started entering competitions at the age of 11. Within a year, he was winning every event.
“I did baseball, football, basketball, football – every sport you can think of. I got nothing in the form of snowboarding, ”Rice said.
Since the day Kat saw him on a scale across the playground in preschool, Kat said his son was not afraid and was “a congenital of body awareness”.
This comes as a five-story building increases in size, rotating and overturning several times before landing. Such is the nature of snowboard competitions, such as sloppy – in which athletes negotiate a series of jumps and rails – and big air, in which they are built on their gait performance by a single, large-scale jump.
“I was always fearless, going after what I wanted to do, riding with older kids and people who were better than me, so I could learn all the tricks and wanted to be like a snowboarder, one on one. Could get real understanding, ”said Rice.
He usually did this, while there was only one person who looked like he did.
“I was always the only black kid, the only black snowboarder on the hill,” he said. “As lonely as it may seem, I had all my friends and no matter what the color of the skin was, it was always a great snowboarding.”
As Rice’s skills progressed and began to win against stiff competition, family friends started calling him Flynn Bryan. He realized that to become a big name in snowboarding, he would have to go to the big mountains.
Rice won a regional amateur competition in Michigan at the age of 12, with the opportunity to attend a one-week camp in Colorado. The following year, he landed on the radar of coaches at the ski and snowboard club Well – an organization that helped launch the careers of many Olympians, especially Lindsey von And Mikaela Shiffrin. He was invited to live with a host family in Colorado for the winter, with schooling from afar during training and competition.
Last summer, Rice bought studios at Copper Mountain and Cat and took a full-time winter job, playing the increasingly demanding role as Brian’s combination mother and manager, patrolling Village Safety – his “mother”.
Because winter sports are often expensive, with top-level coaching, national and international training, and competitions, Kat sought financial support for Bryan’s snowboard career.
“I’m literally just googled ‘how a black snowboarder is sponsored to go to the Olympics,” Kat said.
He received the National Brotherhood of Skiers, an organization with more than 3,500 members, whose mission is to increase the number of people of color in snow sports, and Jim Dandy Ski Club, an NBS affiliate and America’s first African-American ski club, Which is founded in 1958 and Detroit. Both organizations enthusiastically followed Rice’s Olympic quest.
“It’s not easy for a black person from the Midwest to put money into this type of career,” said Jim Dandy Ski Club President Janice Jackson. “We have done this mission to see someone in the US ski and snowboard team. We have come across people who have never found a pass, but never reached there. Brian came along, right here in our own backyard. “
In late February, Rice saw one of the best results of his career – fifth place in the American Revolution Tour Big Air competition in Aspen, Colo. Scoring for this type of event is based on how well the athletes perform in two moves. Mass jump. The day was full of air, with some athletes leading their trick selections and others to keep from rolling and crashing. Rice was unsweetened. Going against some of the best snowboarders in the country, he knew he would have to grow up. He threw two moves he had never done before – a backside 1260 (rotating back and forth three and a half times) and a 1080 on the front (moving forward three times).
“For him to unleash both of those new tricks in a day, that’s where you separate yourself from the pack,” Kat said.
“Yes,” Brian said. “Hard work doesn’t go away. At the end of the day, I just have to do it. I have to pick myself up and do what I want to do.”
The teenager’s next big move is a backside triple cork 1440 – launching backward while performing three off-axis flips and performing four full curves. The move has become relatively standard among Olympic-level snowboard champions, but Rice is progressing one trick at a time. In the process, he wants to show other young African-Americans that traditional sports are not their only option and that even in historic white sports such as snowboarding, the sky is the limit.
“Other games were repeated,” Rice said. “Baseball, you hit the ball and run the bases. Soccer, you kick the ball, try and shoot a goal. Football, you drive a man and try to catch the ball. With snowboarding, there is so much creativity. I saw from the beginning that I could make it my own. I could just free rein and have as much fun as I wanted. “
Make no mistake, competing in the Olympics is what he also wants.
“If, I mean When I include it in the Olympics, I can be on top of that podium showing the world that it doesn’t matter where you come from, your skin color, or who your parents are. It’s just about how you get there. “I think if I can make it, anyone can.”