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Posted: Thursday February 18, 2010 5:38PM; Updated: Saturday February 20, 2010 11:57AM
Louie Vito
Louie Vito>OLYMPIC DIARY

Snowboarder reflects on fifth-place finish, experience in Vancouver

Story Highlights

Louie Vito finished fifth in snowboard halfpipe competition

Vito was surprised by low scores, but felt he pleased the fans

Vito and his friends plan to support U.S. women's hockey team

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U.S. snowboarder Louie Vito, a first-time Olympian, will be in checking in with SI.com's Cory McCartney throughout the Games to offer an inside view of the sights and sounds in Vancouver.

I would have liked to have made it to podium, but finishing fifth in the halfpipe is what it is and you can't change anything and I'm really happy to have the chance to be here.

I wasn't nervous at all, which I was actually kind of surprised about. I thought it being the Olympics, I would be a little nervous. I don't know if it was from 'Dancing With The Stars' preparing me or just having confidence in my riding; I like pressure situations anyway. I felt good up there and I was happy and it was so cool to just be standing up there at night, knowing that the world is watching.

Before I go up there I always listen to Clipse's 'Popular Demand' -- it's a song I was kind of into at the beginning of the season and I did well at Copper [Mountain Grand Prix] and I did well at Mammoth [Grand Prix], so I've kind of just been using that song all year. I have a few different songs that I usually listen to leading up to my run, but for my run, that's the song I listen to. It has a good beat and it doesn't get me too over-hyped and it doesn't get my too relaxed. It's a song I'm familiar with in pressure situations where I can find that proper level to get my mind set, because when you're in that same position with that song on, it kind of brings you down to where you need to be.

I was a little bit surprised my scores were so low. But it was nice to hear the crowd boo for both of my scores, because it's good to have the people watching stoked for your runs; that's ultimately more important because there are more fans than there are the five judges. People were stoked on it and I represented my style and the way I snowboard, and that's ultimately what mattered to me.

I would have liked to have had a little better grab on my straight air. I got one in there, I just didn't get it as clean as I wanted.

I was just a little bummed that I fell short of what I really wanted to do, but at the end of the day I have nothing to complain about. My family, my friends were all around watching and I know they're super stoked for me and they got me to where I am. I owe it to them. I have nothing to be unhappy about, I'm in the Olympics and I made it on the team that's the hardest by far to make it on. That's just a whole feat in itself and I made it to the finals, which is even better, and I put down a run in the finals.

I've seen Shaun White do the Double McTwist 1260 before, so it was nothing really new to me. I was talking to Bud Keene, one of the U.S. coaches, about it and I was like 'He may not land it very many times in practice, but when it counts, he's probably the most consistent contest rider there is.'

I'm going to go up and watch the girls snowboard tonight, and I'm definitely going to go to a girls hockey game. Scotty Lago, Greg Bretz and I see the hockey girls everywhere and they are super girls. I know they're big fans of snowboarding, so we have to show some love for them.

I'm just trying to enjoy the whole Olympics experience. I don't know what 2014 is going to hold for me; this could be a one-time thing or it could be a multi-time thing for me, I don't know. I just want to be able to enjoy the experience and take advantage of it.

I don't want to give my pick for the women's halfpipe. I know that Kelly Clark and Gretchen Bleiler have been riding really well and anyone who saw X-Games saw Gretchen put down some hammers. Kelly is one of those girls, she knows how to put it down. It wouldn't surprised me if those two battled it out, but I mean you always have Torah Bright [of Australia], who I've seen practicing the double crippler. I don't know if she's going to do it tonight, but that would be great not only for contest, but for women's snowboarding if she threw that down. I'm just excited to go up and watch that and obviously we want to U.S. girls to do well.

Got a question for Louie? Send an e-mail here and he'll answer the best reader question in his next entry.

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