Alex Deibold beams a smile after winning the bronze medal in snowboardcross on a rainy day in Rosa Khutor. (Getty Images-Mike Ehrmann)
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Feb. 18) - Team USA's Alex Deibold (Manchester Center, VT) waited patiently for the right time, making a strategic move late in the finals to take bronze in the Olympic snowboardcross on a rainy Tuesday in Rosa Khutor. France's Pierre Vaultier took gold with Russia's Nikolay Olyunin silver. The snowboardcross race will air on NBC’s Primetime Olympic coverage Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com. Next up, men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom snowboarding events are set for Wednesday Feb. 19.
Alex Deibold (Manchester Center, VT) made a strategic pass late in the medals round to take bronze in snowboardcross at the rainy Rosa Khutor venue. He held onto his position until he spotted room in a corner for a pass and made his move.
Deibold was also on the podium during the Sochi World Cup test event in 2013, but then injured his shoulder. He underwent rehab at the Center of Excellence in Park City, UT and took classes at Westminster College before he began training again.
He was invited to the 2010 Olympics as wax tech in Vancouver after he didn't qualify for the Olympic Team, and there he solidified his reputation as a hard worker. That experience motivated him to move west and train full time at the Center of Excellence. He has been patient and endured setbacks while always remaining focused on his Olympic dream.
In Tuesday’s event, rookie Trevor Jacob (Mammoth Lakes, CA) and Deibold went head to head in the semifinal, when Deibold barely snuck by Jacob in the final and advanced to the big final. Jacob then advanced to the small final and rode into ninth place.
Veterans Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA) and Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI) tied for 25th.
France's Pierre Vaultier took home the gold medal with Russia's Nikolay Olyunin taking silver.
Rain falling on the course created wet and slow conditions for the riders as they navigated the banked turns and big jumps at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park venue.
The snowboardcross race will air on NBC’s Primetime Olympic coverage Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. EST and can be streamed in its entirety on NBCOlympics.com.
Next up, Justin Reiter (Steamboat Springs, CO) rides for Team USA during his first Olympic appearance in the men’s parallel giant slalom snowboarding event on Wednesday Feb. 19.
QUOTES Alex Deibold It’s kind of hard to put this stuff into words, but in Vancouver four years ago I was a wax technician for my teammates Nate, Seth (Wescott), Nick and Graham (Watanabe). I competed that year and my results weren’t good enough to qualify me for the team so they brought me along to support. It was grueling work but it was a situation that I’m grateful for. It really gave me motivation over the last four years; I’ve gone through some surgeries and I’ve had a lot of low points where I’ve doubted what I’m doing. I remembered what it was like to be there, and to be sitting here in front of you guys, to stand on top of the podium today and to wrap the flag around myself, all that sacrifice and hard work were more than worth it.
When I came out this morning, all I wanted to focus on was my own snowboarding. In boardercross the fastest guy doesn’t necessarily always win. All that I could focus on was my own snowboarding and it paid off. When I was in the gate during that final I wasn’t thinking about the podium at all. I just thought about the hard work I had put in and what I had to do to get to that finish line.
I have so much respect for Trevor; he’s such a naturally talented snowboarder. We battled. I knew he was fast and I knew that he was going to be putting the heat on me. Through that section we got a little tangled up in the air and that’s just part of boardercross. We came over that finish line jump and I knew that I had to be flawless; I had to land on my feet and try to be flat all the way across the finish line. It was a pretty incredible moment. I’m proud that I got it and I am where I am, but if Trevor has gotten it he would have deserved it just as much as I did.
Nate Holland When I got up top after my disappointment I just switched gears and tried to give all the information to my teammates that I had. So for Deibold to medal is a testament to how strong our team is because any of us could have medaled. We’ve been racing each other all week, and I’m proud of him. He was our wax tech in Vancouver, but he’s been with the team since the early days and he’s been working hard. He doesn’t always get the results year in year out. He kind of disappears in the eyes of the media, but he’s always there working.
It’s the Olympic rings. These five rings, they don’t agree with me apparently. Every Olympics for me has ended in a fall, and I felt great in all of them. But they give me a lot of drive, a lot of joy while I’m here, but also a lot of heartbreak at the end of the race.
Nick Baumgartner It’s just a bummer. You put in so much hard work for these Olympics. I’ve spent the last 10-12 years of my life trying to get a medal at these Games and to come out here and put that performance down is definitely not what I wanted to do. More rain just put my timing off and I was just miss-timing everything and never could really get going. Ideally we’d race in perfect conditions, but we’re an outdoor sport and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and everyone is racing in it. I just wish I would have performed a little bit better.
Trevor Jacob It was cool. Rubbing is racing. There at the end was pretty exciting. I just forgot to do a move off this jump and took it like 150-feet to the bottom and of course he (Alex) passed me. It was cool. I’m so happy for Alex. He deserves it. He works really hard.