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Vito, en route to Olympic trials, makes time for local rail jam

As the final leg of Olympic qualifying is about to get under way, local snowboarding prodigy Louie Vito made time once again to host his local charity event.

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ABOVE: Damon Shaw, 13, of Bellefontaine, performs a trick on one of the rails during the 10th annual Louie Vito Rail Jam at Mad River Mountain on Saturday. BELOW: Ethan White of Columbus drops off a bag of canned goods to benefit the local St. Vincent de Paul Society during the 10th annual Louie Vito Rail Jam at Mad River Mountain on Saturday. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Olympic snowboarder Louie Vito, left, greets Bob and Miriam Lescalleet of Valley Hi during the 10th annual Louie Vito Rail Jam at Mad River Mountain on Saturday. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

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“I love coming back to Mad River Mountain; it just keeps getting better and better,” the Olympian said Saturday after he had finished signing autographs for hundreds of fans during the 10th annual Louie Vito Rail Jam.

He returned to Logan County, along with Norwegian snowboarder Kim Rune Hansen, to celebrate the holiday and relax before the next three contests that will determine the Olympic field.

“We’ve been having a blast riding out here,” Louie Vito said. “It’s not practicing, it’s just for fun. I love being home and seeing my friends and family.”

Snowboarders will compete in three events beginning in Colorado on Jan. 11 to determine who will advance to the 2014 Olympic contests in Sochi, Russia, and the local rider said he is even more focused this year than he was four years ago.

“I’m more driven this year; in 2010, I was a little more laid back,” Louie Vito said.

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