A little over a month ago most people in New Hampshire would have struggled to identify 22-year-old Scotty Lago in a picture. Now the Olympic snowboard half-pipe bronze medalist has one of the most recognizable faces — or abs, depending on how you look at it — in the country. Lago took the competition by storm in Vancouver, throwing down a solid first run that led to a score of 42.8 and a bronze medal. But the accomplishment was quickly overshadowed by a set of racy photos (Google it) that appeared a day later on the celebrity Web site, TMZ.com. With the blink of an eye, Lago was packing his bags and heading back to the East Coast, missing the remainder of his Olympic experience in Vancouver. He has since apologized for his actions, but there was a silver lining. Before celebrating with a parade in Seabrook, Lago appeared on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” show, publicly speaking out for the first time on the incident that sent him home.
What was it like being on Jimmy Kimmel? I was a little nervous going into it because I hadn’t even met Jimmy. The only time ... was when we were filming. I wasn’t quiet sure what he had in store for me. It was a lot of fun, though.What’d you think of his surprise for you? My initial reaction was that he was going to bring out an Asian girl or something like that and have her bite my medal. I was thinking, “God, I can’t do that.” Then when I found out it was a [mock] closing ceremonies I thought it was so cool. I wasn’t really told much before I went on stage, they just shoved me out there.What do you have to say to the people who are criticizing you for those photos? To the people I did offend, I would like to say that I’m sorry. They were right ... I wasn’t representing my country properly. It was a lapse of judgment and you know I regret it, but I’m not going to let it get me down at all.The wind storm almost canceled your parade, no? That was a crazy storm, I couldn’t believe it. I know the fire department and the police had their hands full. A lot of people turned out, I was really impressed. All my friends were on top of the Billabong bus with me. I almost got taken out by a stoplight, the bus was higher than I thought and there were a ton of wires down low.Your family owns Lago’s Ice Cream.Will we see a Scotty Lago ice cream this summer? I think my grandparents need to hook that up. I don’t know about a name, something about bronze. I’ll leave that up to my uncle, he’s pretty wicked at that. Cotton candy flavor is great, straight up, nothing in it. I’ve got some thinking to do on that. — Interview by Amy Wolfe
This article appears in the April 2010 issue of New Hampshire Magazine