For those feeling sorry for Scotty Lago after he fell short in his quest to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, the 26-year-old Seabrook native will remind you that he spends his worst days on snowboard trails in some of the most beautiful locations in the world.
“We’re in a sport where we don’t need the Olympics to have a successful season,” Lago said. “Our careers aren’t dependent on it. I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me at all. I gave it my all, and I said at the beginning I wouldn’t be bummed if I didn’t make it.”
Lago will not have a chance to match the highlight of his career so far — earning a bronze medal in the halfpipe at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Although Lago was a successful professional snowboarder at the time of that achievement, his breakthrough performance in front of a worldwide audience on an Olympic stage took his popularity to new heights.
He has remained at or near the top of the sport for the last four years, earning podium finishes at several international events in 2013, including bronze at an Olympic test run in Sochi, Russia, last February.
Lago needed one more podium in the five Olympic qualifiers to be considered for the U.S. team, as his second-place finish in the fourth qualifier last Friday was his lone top-three result. He could not land his biggest trick at the final qualifier Sunday at Mammoth Mountain in California, leaving him on the outside of the Olympic picture.
“I couldn’t pull it off,” Lago said. “I knew I had to get first or second to solidify my spot, and I ended up falling. That happens. I’m bummed I couldn’t pull it off, but not that bummed. I’m excited to go out and start filming and doing other contests this year.”