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Soaring among the stars

By Tang Yue | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-22 07:34

 Soaring among the stars

Norway's Marcus Kleveland competes at the World Snowboard Tour Big Air competition at the Bird's Nest in Beijing on Saturday. Provided to China Daily

Norwegian teen aiming to fulfill Olympic dream

Watching snowboarders launch themselves off a 16-story ramp to perform gravity-defying stunts, spectators at Saturday's World Snowboard Tour Big Air competition at the Bird's Nest might have naturally assumed the athletes are totally fearless.

But Norway's Marcus Kleveland, who won the event, begs to differ.

"I am afraid of spiders; I hate spiders," Kleveland said after taking top honors in the six-star event. "And I'm a little bit afraid of heights ... not when I am dropping down to jump, or when I am jumping. But when I am standing on a building and looking down, I start shaking a little bit.

"When you go down to jump, you don't think about it. I know it's hard to believe, but it's not the same."

Kleveland's victory in Beijing was his second in as many weeks. The 17-year-old clinched his first World Cup title on Nov 12 in Milan.

"It definitely means a lot to me. I haven't made such big podiums like this and the one in Milan," he said.

"This is my second time in Beijing. I've grown from last year. It is more exciting. The course is a little bumpy, but we all made it through. It was awesome."

Urged on by pulsating rock music and a large noisy crowd, Kleveland kept his cool in edging Canadians Sebastien Toutant and D'arcy Sharpe, who finished second and third respectively.

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