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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 17:48 GMT

French flavour hits snowboarding

Defending Olympic giant slalom champion Karine Ruby of France will be hoping to win gold again.

But unlike Nagano, where the snowboarder was racing against the clock, Ruby will this time be competing in a modified version.

The new event, the parallel giant slalom, involves racing against another competitor as well as the clock.

American Rosey Fletcher will be vying for the gold medal having finished second at the 1999 and 2001 World Championships.

In the men's event, Canada's Jasey-Jay Anderson is looking good for the gold.

He won the giant slalom title at the 2001 FIS World Championships and the 2001 overall World Cup title, reflecting his success not only in parallel giant slalom.

Frenchman Nicolas Huet, who won two parallel giant slalom races during the 2000-2001 World Cup season, is also one to watch out for.

Slovenia's Dejan Kosir and Switzerland's Gilles Jaquet are both in with a shout as well.

Switzerland's Gian Simmen will be looking to defend his Olympic title, with Canada's Daniel Migneault and Michael Michalchuk his closest rivals.

France's Doriane Vidal will be favourite to land the women's title, having won the 2001 World Snowboarding Half-pipe Championships.

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