Remember Shaun Palmer? The once-king of action sports made front-page news in today's edition of USA Today with a feature article about his recovery from drug and alcohol problems into an Olympic athlete. Palmer, whom the newspaper featured back in 1998 under the headline "Is this man the world's greatest athlete?" is headed to Torino, Italy, for the 2006 Winter Olympics for the new sport of Snowboardercross, basically a downhill sprint on a motocross-inspired course. That should suit Palmer, a part-time professional motocross rider, just fine, though he admits he had to end his "extended bender" that left him in a near-fatal coma on May 30 of 2005.
In the USA Today article, Palmer explains that the binge started after "I got really f----d on this deal with a pro moto team. And when it all fell apart, I started drinking hard. I was on a deep bender. In the hospital they told me I took coke and pills, but I don't remember any of that."
The article does not mention which team it was that Palmer felt wronged by, but it did say "His failure to succeed in motocross as Palmer had in mountain-biking, the X Games (six gold medals), snowboarding (five world championships) and business (Palmer Snowboards and the multi-million-dollar-selling Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder video game) gnawed at him for years."
Look for the newspaper on newsstands everywhere.