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THE PRODIGY
August 05, 2002
Teen wakeboarder Emily Copeland is expected to have fans flipping out and foes drinking her whitewash at the X Games.
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August 05, 2002

The Prodigy

Teen wakeboarder Emily Copeland is expected to have fans flipping out and foes drinking her whitewash at the X Games.

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THE LAUNCH
The 5'9" Copeland was a promising gymnast, but in 1997 she gave up the sport because "I was getting taller than my coach."

THE ROUTINE
In the summer she travels an hour north of Denver to practice. "The lake is past two cornfields in the middle of nowhere."

THE TRICK
In a typical heel-side 360, riders rotate on their vertical axis so that the board stays well beneath shoulder level.

THE NEW SPIN
In the heel-side off-axis 360 (above), however, Copeland spins off her vertical axis so that the board gets above her head.

THE FINISHING TOUCH
To avoid eating it, she keeps the handle close to her waist so she can easily transfer it from her right hand to her left.

THE PAYOFF
The defending pro tour champ, Copeland, 18, is the only female rider who has nailed the off-axis 360 in competition.

THE X FACTOR
Copeland won silver at the last two X Games; her next shot at gold is on Aug. 13 on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.

THE FEAR
In 2001 riders were told to avoid touching the river's muddy, garbage-strewn bottom. "It's very dirty and gross," she says.

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