Colorado snowboarder sues International Olympic Committee

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DENVER — A professional snowboarder from Colorado is making history by suing the International Olympic Committee after it axed a sporting event from the 2018 Winter Games.

Steamboat Springs resident Justin Reiter has been snowboarding for more than 20 years. He loves the sport so much he spent seven months living in his Toyota Tundra so he could afford to train without a coach.

Reiter’s dedication paid off when he was chosen to represent the USA in snowboarding’s parallel slalom at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Success continued to follow Reiter in 2015.

“I finished the [2015] season third overall in the world,” he said. “I won my first World Cup.”

But on June 7, Reiter received a message that crushed him: The International Olympic Committee announced it was removing parallel slalom from the games.

“I’ve been to the Olympics. I know what it’s about. I believe in the Olympic spirit. What the International Olympic Committee has done does not represent that [spirit],” Reiter said.

Reiter said the committee wants to replace parallel slalom with new events that would be more popular, especially among women.

“It hit the industry in the gut,” Reiter said.

In an effort to bring parallel slalom back, Reiter is suing the International Olympic Committee. It’s the first time anyone has sued the committee to try to bring back an event.

“It’s not something that any of us became sportsmen or athletes for. It was just brought on out of necessity,” Reiter said.

Reiter flew to Switzerland late last week, where a judge granted Reiter permission to carry on with the lawsuit.

“The judge in Switzerland felt we had a really strong case, so we’re going to proceed,” he said.

Reiter believes the International Olympic Committee will try to stretch out the process to make it expensive so Reiter will back out. Reiter created a fundraising page to help with his legal costs.

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