American-born Russian Vic Wild loves his new country, and they love him. He took his second Olympic gold in a thrilling final over Zan Kosir, who also took his second medal of the Games. As unpredictable as this sport may be, each of the medalists was a repeat — Benjamin Karl reached the podium in parallel giant slalom in 2010.
Event: Men’s parallel slalom
Medalists: Vic Wild (Russia), Zan Kosir (Slovenia), Benjamin Karl (Austria)
SportsMyriad projections: Andreas Prommegger (Austria), Roland Fischnaller (Italy), Rok Marguc (Austria)
How U.S. fared: Justin Reiter, a World Championship silver medalist, missed a gate on the first run of qualifying.
What happened: The favorites made it through qualifying, but many of them tumbled in the round of 16. World champion Rok Marguc (Slovenia) had a clumsy turn early in the second round and couldn’t catch Germany’s Patrick Bussler. Austrian Andreas Prommegger lost a close one to countrymate Benjamin Karl. Switzerland’s Simon Schoch went off course.
But all three parallel giant slalom medalists advanced, with Zan Kosir taking out decorated 38-year-old Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson.
Quarterfinals: You could send Vic Wild gaining momentum again, as he had in the parallel giant slalom. He beat Italian favorite Roland Fischnaller, with a small gap in each run. Slovenia Zan Kosir also kept up his quest for a second medal, holding off fellow PGS medalist Nevin Galmarini. Austrian favorite Karl rallied from a slight deficit to beat Bussler, and Italy’s Aaron March advanced.
Karl could hardly have better credentials — 2010 silver medalist in PGS, four wins in the last three World Championships — though his current World Cup season wasn’t as strong.
March has a handful of World Cup podiums. Kosir has been a strong World Cup performer for the past couple of seasons. Wild, even before winning PGS gold, was having the season of his life.
Semifinals: Vic Wild’s quest for double gold was surely gone. A slip in the first run left him 1.12 seconds behind Karl. Surely it was over.
You guessed it — it wasn’t over. Karl never slipped, but Wild just reeled him in through a thrilling second run. He came across 0.04 seconds ahead, and the crowd went … well, Wild.
Zan Kosir took an 0.74 lead in the first run. March wiped out halfway down the second run, and Kosir simply stayed on his feet to reach the final.
Finals: March didn’t offer much resistance to Karl, who cruised across the line to be greeted by fellow Austrian Julia Dujmovits, who had just won gold in the women’s event.
Wild and Kosir had a tight first run, with Wild leading by 0.12 seconds. Kosir had a great start in the second run, but Wild pulled slightly ahead. Kosir caught up but went slightly wide. Wild held on to win by 0.11 for his second gold of the Games.