Michael Schmid of Switzerland became the first-ever Olympic gold medallist in the men’s ski cross on Sunday at Cypress Mountain.
Andreas Matt of Austria claimed the silver and Audun Groenvold of Norway won the bronze in a dramatic finish.
“You can expect a medal but in this sport anything can happen,” said a satisfied Davey Barr of Canada to CTV. “It’s not the most consistent skier that wins all the time.”
Ski cross made its Olympic debut Sunday and the popularity of the event is that it is an unpredictable event. The only way to make it through is to get out in front and stay away from other skiers.
Canada’s Chris Del Bosco was the favourite to win gold. He tasted Olympic disappointment and did not win a medal at this event with a fourth place finish.
He had a clean round of 32 and quarterfinal race but had trouble at the start in the first transition point into the semifinals and the finals.
The Colorado Springs, CO., native found himself in fourth place but passed Groenvold to set himself up for a bronze medal finish. When headed to the finish line, he took a tumble on the last jump and watched as the Norwegian claimed third place.
Canadian David Duncan was injured in his first training run at Cypress Mountain and broke his collar bone ending his Olympic gold medal hope.
Brady Leman was set to replace Duncan but he too suffered from a leg injury. Barr was brought in as a last minute substitute.
Barr had a spectacular race despite not having sufficient time to train. He looked more confident with each race he took part in.
He advanced to the quarterfinals as two skiers in his heat went down, and found himself racing in the small final with a 6th place finish.
“The last 24 hours have been pretty insane for sure,” a smiling Barr said. “I’m pleased with my result and super fortunate to be here.”
Contender Stanley Hayer of Canada didn’t make it past the quarterfinals. He bumped into another skier during his race which caused him to lose speed and in turn lose the heat.
A spectacular display of the sport happened in the round of 32 when Ted Piccard of France and Daron Rahlves of U.S. crashed into each other in mid- air.
This led to Eric Iljans of Sweden to move on but he would not advance past the quarterfinals.