KRASNAYA POLYANA, RUSSIA – Russia’s American-born snowboarder Vic Wild completed a historic double at the Winter Olympics on Saturday by claiming parallel slalom gold.
Wild had already won the parallel giant slalom title on Wednesday but wasn’t prepared to settle for just that with the 27-year-old insisting it was his off-season training that had made the difference.
“(It’s) beyond believable. When I came to the Olympics and showed up I had already won,” he said.
“To win the other day was the greatest feeling of my life. I can’t believe it. All those power drills I did in the summer, they really paid off. Nobody could keep up.
“It has taken a lot of hard work, man. When everyone else in the summer is taking vacation, I am working hard. I train, I train, and it paid off.”
In the early rounds of the competition Wild seemed to be riding different ice than the rest.
In the qualification and elimination rounds he was a second quicker than the others while he was almost 2 seconds faster than his last-16 opponent over the two runs.
But his real moment of brilliance came in the semifinals against four-time world champion Benjamin Karl from Austria.
Wild made a mistake on the first run meaning that he was hit with the maximum deficit of 1.12 seconds ahead of the second run.
His double hopes seemed over but he produced a startling run to claw back all that time and more to steam into the final.
There he was pushed all the way by Slovenia’s Zan Kosir, but he still won by just 0.11 seconds.
Karl added Olympic bronze to the silver he won in Vancouver in 2010 in the parallel giant slalom by beating Italy’s Aaron March.
In the women’s competition, Austria’s Julia Dujmovits was a shock winner.
The 26-year-old overturned a huge 0.72-second deficit following the first run to beat Germany’s Anke Karstens by just 0.12 seconds following the second.
It was the first time she has ever won an elite level parallel slalom race.
“I don’t know what to say, I’m just so happy and thankful,” she said.
“I have had a lot of injuries, (I tore) my ACL (cruciate knee ligament) twice (but) I just never gave up. To be Olympic champion today is amazing.”
Amelie Kober of Germany narrowly held off charging Italian Corinna Boccacini to claim bronze.