Nova Scotia snowboarder Alex Duckworth rides her way into Olympic berth

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KINGSBURG - A Lunenburg County snowboarder has been named to Canada’s Olympic team, bringing the total number of Nova Scotians on the contingent to two.

Alex Duckworth of Kingsburg, N.S., right, is congratulated by Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut, as they unveil the Canadian Olympic snowboard team, Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at the Ice Hotel in Quebec City.

Alex Duckworth, 26, of Kingsburg, was virtually guaranteed a berth to Sochi after becoming the top-ranked Canadian female in the half-pipe at a weekend Snowboard World Cup event in Quebec.

However, she said it was still a relief to hear the official announcement Tuesday afternoon.

“It becomes a bit more of a reality after today, which is nice,” she said. “We’ve been biting our lips over the weekend just waiting for everything to solidify, and now’s when we really get to enjoy the process.”

With the opening ceremony just over two weeks away, Duckworth doesn’t have much time to enjoy the moment. She said she’s headed back to her training base in Whistler for the next few days before leaving with the Canadian team for 10 days of practice in Switzerland.

“That’s where we’ll do a bit more training in a half-pipe and get a bit more acclimatized to the right time zone,” said Duckworth.

It’s Duckworth’s first Olympics, but not her first trip to Sochi – she said she’s looking forward to seeing the official venues after a test event last year.

“It was still all very in the works, everything under construction, so it’ll be interesting to see how they pulled everything together,” she said. “We haven’t heard much about it recently, but I’m sure it’ll be done on time.”

The snowboard team announcement comes two days after the naming of the men’s hockey team, which includes Cole Harbour’s Sidney Crosby as captain.

Duckworth said she’s not going into the Olympics with big expectations, but she’s hoping to make Bluenosers proud.

“There’s been such great support for me, coming from there,” she said. “So that’s the most exciting thing, to have it all pay off and get someone to join Sidney Crosby on the Nova Scotia representation. That’s a big part of this for me.”

Nineteen athletes were named to the snowboard team Tuesday, including defending Olympic gold medallist Jasey-Jay Anderson and 2010 Olympians Dominique Maltais and Caroline Calve.

“I don’t have huge expectations,” Duckworth concluded. “I’m just trying to focus on the snowboarding and trying to ride my best and if that can get me into the final, then I’ll be super happy.”

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Sochi, Kingsburg Quebec Whistler Switzerland

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