Sunday, February 1, 1998
Baron of the board
After all, it's hard to imagine Baron de Coubertin would have believed snowboarding would be part of the Olympics when he revived them more than 100 years ago.
And when Trevor Andrew was introduced during the Telus Celebration luncheon -- wearing gaudy sunglasses with his cowboy hat reshaped -- you know the poor Baron would have lost it.
"I'm sure my coach thinks I'm an obnoxious little guy, but I'm just trying to have fun and make people laugh, too," said Andrew, 18.
"When you're out on the road and your friends aren't happy, that's no good. You've got to keep each other going."
Welcome to the modern Olympics, where croquet, cricket and -- no joke -- live pigeon shooting are replaced by beach volleyball and snowboarding.
The fact a Grade 12 student from Falmouth, N.S. could even go to Nagano leaves Andrew, the No. 1 ranked Canadian in the half-pipe competition and three-time national champion, nearly speechless.
"It's cool because my friends are home and my teachers are all stoked."
Amazingly, he didn't want to become an Olympian when he first heard his pastime was a full-medal sport at Nagano.
"I never thought I'd be an Olympian ever," he says.
"I've never even watched the Olympics on TV. It wasn't even a thought that came across my mind.
"The main reason I didn't want to go was, inside, I thought I couldn't go to the Olympics. Then I started getting more and more into it, I thought, 'Damn, I better go to the Olympics.' "
Although he's come to appreciate his situation, Andrew still relishes his irreverent image.
"It's an honor and you have to be respectable. But you can be comedy too," he says.
"That's all I worry about, just going out and having fun. If I'm not having fun, I'll stop for the day and hang out.
"I know tons of guys that are just as normal as everyone else. We're normal too, it's just we're more wild and crazy looking," he continues.
"It's a cool thing. Everyone doesn't look the same, everyone doesn't act the same. You get a whole box of different chocolates like strawberry and caramel."
That respect has turned into excitement.
"I didn't really think about it until (the Telus Celebration luncheon) and they were playing the national anthem. You get goose bumps from the thought of going to the Olympics," he says.
What's even more incredible is the fact Andrew could become a national hero, since he's a legitimate contender to win a medal.
"It's crazy to think we're going to the Olympics and will represent Canada," he says. "The world's going to see what's up with snowboarding. People will be blown away."