American-born Russian Vic Wild won a wild back-and-forth Olympic final a few minutes after his wife took bronze. It’s a party in parallel giant slalom.
Event: Men’s parallel giant slalom
Medalists: Vic Wild (Russia), Nevin Galmarini (Switzerland), Zan Kosir (Slovenia)
SportsMyriad projections: Roland Fischnaller (Italy), Andreas Prommegger (Austria), Benjamin Karl (Austria)
How U.S. fared: Justin Reiter did not qualify for the 16-rider elimination rounds.
What happened: Roland Fischnaller, seeded second, failed to qualify. Andreas Prommeger, the 2013 World Cup champion, squeaked through in 16th. The Russians — Andrey Sobolev and Vic Wild — took the top two spots.
Switzerland’s Philipp Schoch, the 2002 and 2006 gold medalist, couldn’t turn back the clock. He pulled up late in his second run of the round of 16 when he saw he couldn’t catch Slovenia’s Jan Kosir. Also out in the round of 16: world champion Benjamin Karl, top qualifier Sobolev, defending Olympic champion (but recent retiree making a comeback) Jasey Jay Anderson of Canada.
Three Slovenians were through to the quarterfinals. Kosir took out Prommegger, going slightly faster in the first run and a good bit faster in the second. But Switzerland’s Nevin Galmarini upset the late-charging Rok Marguc. Germany’s Patrick Bussler took out the other Rok (Flander). Then Galmarini knocked out Kosir in the semis.
The big story was Wild, an American who got frustrated with the lack of U.S. support for parallel events and had another option after marrying his girlfriend, Russian rider Alyona Zavarzina. The women’s competition was running alternately with the men, and Zavarzina advanced to the semifinals. Then Wild beat 2006 silver medalist Simon Schoch to reach the semifinals himself.
Zavarzina lost in the semifinal, but Wild just kept cruising, handily leading in each run against Bussler. Zavarzina came back for bronze.
Bussler wasn’t able to muster much of a challenge to Kosir for bronze. The gold medal final, though, was a thriller. They went back and forth in the first run, with Galmarini taking a 0.54-second lead. Wild came back in the second, and the lead went back and forth again before Galmarini finally faltered. Wild came across for gold.