D16: Doubling Up
THE MORNING REPORT:
Depending on which rider you ask, men’s snowboardcross was either a dream come true (Alex Deibold, Trevor Jacob) or a heartbreaking disappointment (Nate Holland, Nick Baumgartner). Deibold, a wax technician for the 2010 U.S. team in Vancouver, won the only medal for the Americans in SBX at this Olympics, a bronze. Jacob was incredibly fast and fun to watch and finished his semifinal heat inches behind Deibold in fourth. And he did so after breaking his ankle early in the race. (That hasn’t been confirmed by the medics yet, but these guys know their bodies and they know when they break them.)
Holland, the winningest male SBX racer, fell in his first race of the day. He’s a seven-time X Games gold medalist, but in three Olympic tries, he’s fallen three times and has never medaled. Baumgartner got off to a slow start in his opening heat and finished fourth. His day ended in the round of 39, as well.
You can read my piece on the race HERE.
THE NIGHT REPORT:
As happens often when there’s a field of 29, two runs and only 12 skiers can make finals, not all the skiers you want to see in that final 12 make it there. It was heartbreaking to watch Lyman Currier and Torin Yater-Wallace fall in both of their runs and not make finals. But 17-year-old Aaron Blunck continued his fairy tale ride to the finals, as did gold-medal favorite David Wise. Considering this has been the Olympics of the underdog, you could say Blunck was the favorite to finish on the podium.
In finals, he rode well, but finished fifth. The man of the night was American David Wise, the heavy favorite heading into the event and one of few such favorites to come through under pressure. I wrote about Wise and his “image problem” inside the sport of freeskiing HERE.
THE WEATHER REPORT:
Between covering five Olympics and the global X Games last year, I feel I am qualified to add “weather reporter” to my resume. It rained this morning. Then it snowed. Then it hailed. Then it rained and snowed. The fog rolled in. Then it rolled out. Depending on where you were on the mountain, you were experiencing vastly different weather. Somehow, though all of that, a snowboardcross race took place. And the first Olympic ski halfpipe contest. Tomorrow is an off day from competition. Tomorrow, we ride.
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