We're a poorer state for it, but alas, Colorado isn't usually associated with the bikini sports. That's changing, thanks to the improbable emergence of Highlands Ranch native Emily Copeland, who, despite her landlocked upbringing, has become the country's best female wakeboarder. All of eighteen years old, Copeland has been competing nationally since she was fifteen. She started dominating the circuit in 2001, when she won the Vans Triple Crown Championship and ended the year ranked number one in the country. She finished first in the 2002 Gravity Games and Masters Tournament and won the gold medal in wakeboarding at the 2002 X Games before a late-season injury put her out of commission. Look for her to dominate again this summer.


Best Sporting Club You¹ve Never Heard OfHusband and wife snorkeler/stick-handlers Chris and Agnes DeBrunner of Conifer started DUH in 1993 after moving to Denver from Illinois, where Agnes's brother introduced her to the game. "It was a different game then," recalls Agnes. "More like a holding-your-breath contest." Today, thanks to modern gear like snorkels, fins and spatula-sized sticks, the game is played at the speed of, well, pushing around a weighted puck underwater. From above, a game can look like a group of very pale piranhas attacking a pancake. But, says Agnes, "It's good exercise -- I hate swimming laps -- and it's fun." The club, which boasts a mix of ice hockey and Ultimate Frisbee players, meets at the pool at Lakewood's Carmody Recreation Complex.


It's been a tough year for the furry crowd: Howler got bounced by the Avs; Rocky -- (or at least the human force inside him) -- ran into legal trouble; Dinger seems like the slow little brother of Barney; and the Broncos' Miles

appears to be spooked by the four-hooved equine that prances along the sidelines. But one of the hairiest mascots anywhere has lumbered into town and is making a big impression. Especially when he sits on fans' laps. Woolly, mascot for the pro lacrosse Colorado Mammoth, is a brown Mam-scot complete with tusks. And while some might believe he's headed for extinction, this most recent addition to the Pepsi zoo seems alive and well.

It's been a tough year for the furry crowd: Howler got bounced by the Avs; Rocky -- (or at least the human force inside him) -- ran into legal trouble; Dinger seems like the slow little brother of Barney; and the Broncos' Miles

appears to be spooked by the four-hooved equine that prances along the sidelines. But one of the hairiest mascots anywhere has lumbered into town and is making a big impression. Especially when he sits on fans' laps. Woolly, mascot for the pro lacrosse Colorado Mammoth, is a brown Mam-scot complete with tusks. And while some might believe he's headed for extinction, this most recent addition to the Pepsi zoo seems alive and well.


Since the retirement of John Elway and the untimely demise of Terrell Davis, the Denver Broncos have been an offensive shambles,

barely getting a sniff at the playoffs. Enter Clinton Portis, a super-quick rookie running back from the University of Miami who, after an early-season bout of fumbleitis, collected 1,508 yards (fourth best in the NFL), fifteen touchdowns and a lock on the Broncos' disputed starting spot. At 5-11 and 205 pounds, Portis has the size to be durable, and his moves are astonishing. His pairing in the backfield with new quarterback Jake Plummer should be good news: A dramatically improved passing game (keep your fingers crossed, Broncomaniacs) usually means fewer bloodthirsty linebackers in the face of a good ball carrier. As for the new QB, that $40 million contract probably dictates a change of nickname from "Jake the Snake" to "Liquid Plummer."

Since the retirement of John Elway and the untimely demise of Terrell Davis, the Denver Broncos have been an offensive shambles,

barely getting a sniff at the playoffs. Enter Clinton Portis, a super-quick rookie running back from the University of Miami who, after an early-season bout of fumbleitis, collected 1,508 yards (fourth best in the NFL), fifteen touchdowns and a lock on the Broncos' disputed starting spot. At 5-11 and 205 pounds, Portis has the size to be durable, and his moves are astonishing. His pairing in the backfield with new quarterback Jake Plummer should be good news: A dramatically improved passing game (keep your fingers crossed, Broncomaniacs) usually means fewer bloodthirsty linebackers in the face of a good ball carrier. As for the new QB, that $40 million contract probably dictates a change of nickname from "Jake the Snake" to "Liquid Plummer."

The brain trust at Coors Field changes players faster than pit crews swap tires at a NASCAR race. Their frenzy leaves only first baseman Todd Helton as the rock upon which Rockies hope is built. There couldn't be a better one: Helton's a three-time All-Star who won the National League batting crown in 2000 (with a .372 average), and he's turned into one of the best defensive first basemen in the game. Not only that, but his work ethic is unimpeachable, even when the Rox start another inevitable August slide toward the NL West cellar. If he doesn't inspire the newcomers, no one will. Now heading into his sixth big-league season, the former University of Tennessee quarterback has signed with Colorado through 2011, and that's a good thing: Every hapless team needs a pillar of stability.
The brain trust at Coors Field changes players faster than pit crews swap tires at a NASCAR race. Their frenzy leaves only first baseman Todd Helton as the rock upon which Rockies hope is built. There couldn't be a better one: Helton's a three-time All-Star who won the National League batting crown in 2000 (with a .372 average), and he's turned into one of the best defensive first basemen in the game. Not only that, but his work ethic is unimpeachable, even when the Rox start another inevitable August slide toward the NL West cellar. If he doesn't inspire the newcomers, no one will. Now heading into his sixth big-league season, the former University of Tennessee quarterback has signed with Colorado through 2011, and that's a good thing: Every hapless team needs a pillar of stability.


With or without a spleen, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden's gift to the Colorado Avalanche has been the team's most vital organ this year -- especially when captain Joe Sakic was shelved by injury. En route to another playoff appearance, eight-year veteran Peter Forsberg leads the team in points and assists and was named NHL player of the month for February. More important, the Super Swede has taken emotional charge of an Avs club that struggled through the early season in disarray but has re-emerged as a dangerous Stanley Cup contender. And to think Forsberg's career looked to be over two years ago following that vicious hit he suffered in game seven against the Los Angeles Kings.
With or without a spleen, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden's gift to the Colorado Avalanche has been the team's most vital organ this year -- especially when captain Joe Sakic was shelved by injury. En route to another playoff appearance, eight-year veteran Peter Forsberg leads the team in points and assists and was named NHL player of the month for February. More important, the Super Swede has taken emotional charge of an Avs club that struggled through the early season in disarray but has re-emerged as a dangerous Stanley Cup contender. And to think Forsberg's career looked to be over two years ago following that vicious hit he suffered in game seven against the Los Angeles Kings.


Starting his second year with the Colorado Rapids, stop-minded midfielder Pablo Mastroeni is a true star -- not least because of his impressive play for the U.S. National Team that shocked soccer powers like Portugal and Mexico at last summer's World Cup before their heartbreaking loss to Germany. Born in Argentina, Mastroeni moved to Phoenix when he was four. He played college soccer at North Carolina State and was with the now-defunct Miami Fusion of Major League Soccer before the Rapids grabbed him in last year's dispersal draft. This season, look for the 26-year-old defensive specialist to attack more for the Rapids. And don't count him out of World Cup 2006.

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