Originally published in the 30th Anniversary Issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine, Mountain GOATS celebrates the most influential snowboarders of the last thirty years (1987-2017), otherwise known as the Greatest Of All Time list. With over 70 men and women riding into the ranks of the Mountain GOATS, check back as we release their bios and celebrated accolades over the course of the next few weeks!
Mountain Goat: Kelly Clark
Kelly Clark is the winningest athlete of all time. Not the snowboarder who has received the most medals. Not the female athlete who has eclipsed her competitors the most times. The single, individual person in any sport who has stood on the podium more times than any other. That's no small feat, considering the height at which Kelly has had to boost above the lip in order to achieve her record of contest hardware. Considering her successes, Kelly has remained notably grounded since she began competing in 1999, continuing her reign as the queen of the halfpipe throughout nearly two decades of contest riding with no signs of slowly down. Over the course of her career so far—and we stress the "so far"—Kelly has amassed a collection of heavy metal that includes 16 X Games medals, eight halfpipe titles from the Burton US Open, and two bronze and a gold from the Olympics, an event she has competed in since 2002. And that's only part of the list. The native Vermonter has trophies from the Dew Tour, Grand Prix, World Cup, and four overall World Snowboard Tour championships. Most lauded competitors have a trophy room, but Kelly needs a trophy condo.
What is it at the root of this halfpipe heroine's success? A heightened ability to focus and push herself further every time she drops in. Case in point—during a 2001 X Games Aspen victory lap, instead of a casual run celebrating her already-clinched gold, Kelly dropped in and stomped the first-ever 1080 by a female in a pipe contest. And it's this aptitude for altitude that will keep Kelly's star rising, and medal collection growing, as long as she finds herself within the walls of the pipe.