Versteeg no fan of Olympics

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:10 AM ET

Most people are excited for the Olympics, but Jon Versteeg is looking forward to it being finished.

Not only does the snowboarder compete in an event not yet in the Games, the 20-year-old Whistler resident had his rented house taken away during the month of February.

So winning silver Sunday afternoon in the slopestyle portion of the Burton Canadian Open at Canada Olympic Park gives Versteeg something to cheer about in an otherwise bleak month.

"I'm kind of homeless right now because of the Olympics," Versteeg said. "I sleep on a different couch every night, and I have all my clothes and stuff at work (Cow's Ice Cream).

"I go there every morning to brush my teeth and get ready. It's happened to a lot of people. Landlords know they can rent out places for way, way too much. I used to be a fan of the Olympics before but not anymore. I realize now this happens wherever they go."

So when Versteeg heads 'home' this week, he plans on getting out of town before the world invades Whistler.

"I will work for two or three days and probably get a plane ticket for anywhere else," said the Vernon, B.C., native. "I feel better now that I have some cash in my pocket."

With his second-place finish, Versteeg picked up a cheque worth $3,000, which he says will be used to hit more events.

"This is the first competition I've done all year," he said. "This is the only productive thing I've done all year."

American Brett Esser won the slopestyle event Sunday by scoring 87 points in his first run of three.

Versteeg had an 82.17 and Canmore's Robby Balharry scored an 81.6 in his final one to knock fellow Canadian Mark Sollors off the podium and take bronze.

The Super Bowl dominated the airwaves Sunday, but Balharry earned his finish by channel surfing. His final trick started on one jump and landed on the other as he soared across the channel underneath.

"Instead of going straight off the jump, you go off the corner and you have an added distance you need to cross," said the 19-year-old. "It adds a risk factor, but I like it. Channelling gets you more points, so I definitely had to do it."

In the women's event, Calgary product Breanna Stangeland was sitting in third spot before the second-to-last rider, Norway's Lisa Wiik, knocked her off and she settled for fourth.

Finland's Enni Ruajarvi won the event with a final-run point total of 96.17, while Wiik took silver and Switzerland's Sina Candrian won bronze.

Stangeland now lives in Whistler, so competing last weekend in the World Cup and then again this weekend was a nice homecoming.

"I learned everything here," said the 21-year-old Stangeland. "It's been an interesting past two weeks. It was less stressful for me because I was competing at home.

"It's much easier than going to another country. I knew the conditions well. Everyone was doing really well considering the conditions (foggy and cold). Even making it to finals was good for me. I was in the World Cup, so it's been competition for two weeks. I'm tired out."


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