Jonathan Cheever won’t be able to take on any new plumbing jobs for at least another month.
The 32-year-old snowboardcross athlete and part-time plumber officially qualified for his first Olympic Winter Games Saturday, earning the spot that’s essentially been his since a third-place finish in Argentina at the first Olympic qualifier back in September. Up to three U.S. men could meet objective criteria and qualify for the team with a podium finish; Cheever turned out to be the only American to podium in the seven events.
His performance in Argentina marked his first time stepping onto a world cup podium since Feb. 21, 2012.
Cheever, who began snowboarding at age 12, was the 2011 U.S. snowboardcross champion. He competed in his first world cup snowboardcross race in 2007 and has since finished on the podium five times: a second-place finish in 2009, two of the same in early 2011, third in 2012 and his recent finish in Argentina.
He said the Olympic pressure got to him heading into the 2010 Games, causing him to miss the team for Vancouver, and with a deep field of U.S. riders he was again not selected in 2014.
Cheever has long been left off the U.S. men’s A team due to his lack of performance and has been using his plumbing earnings – plus any sponsorships he can pick up, like one from a water heater company – to finance his travel to competitions. His struggles all became worth it when he finally made an Olympic team.
The Boston native is married to two-time Olympic snowboardcross rider Maria Ramberg of Austria.
Three more men will be named to the Olympic snowboardcross team with Cheever next week. The field is tightly stacked, and favorites include 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Alex Deibold, who was fourth at a world cup this season; two-time Olympian Nick Baumgartner, who was fourth on Saturday in Turkey; Mick Dierdorff, who was third at the one world cup this season that was not an Olympic qualifier; Hagen Kearney, who has placed fourth and fifth this season and won a world cup last season; and three-time Olympian Nate Holland, who was fourth at a world cup one year ago.
Five-time world champion Lindsey Jacobellis and two-time Olympian Faye Gulini have already qualified for their spots in PyeongChang for the women.