Anderson claims Gold in Parallel Giant Slalom
Canada's Jasey Jay Anderson was victorious in yesterday's last Olympic snowboard competition of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. The 34-years-old veteran from Quebec edged off Austria's Benjamin Karl in a close battle of the titans with the tiny lead of 0.35 sec in the final of the men's parallel giant slalom competition. Mathieu Bozzetto from France crowned a long time career with the Bronze medal by beating fourth ranked surprise from Russia Stanislav Detkov in heavy fog on Cypress Mountain.
With Anderson and Bozzetto on the podium, the possibly two most dominating athletes of the parallel snowboard scene of the past decade crowned a long career with the deserved Olympic honours; Anderson and Bozzetto are also two out of three snowboarders (the other one is Siegfried Grabner) having been participating in all four Olympics which staged snowboard events so far.
While the Frenchman was able to get his redemption after missing the podium in Torino four years ago as fourth, the Canadian superstar Jasey Jay Anderson underlined once more that he is hardly to defeat when it comes down to home territory carving.
Decorated with a total of four World Championships medals, two of them earned in 2005 at Whistler Mountain, the reigning PGS WCS title holder sparked more celebrations for the hosting country by upsetting the other top favourite Benjamin Karl.
The father of two was behind after the first run with 0.76 seconds but found the perfect line in the second one finally crossing the finish line first; a fact which surprised the new champion who won Canada's second 2010 snowboard Gold. "I'm shocked. I don't know what to say. I had so much to make up and in these conditions it's pretty much impossible," he said.
However, just like at the Worlds in 2005 which were also marked by bad weather conditions, the 207 times World Cup athlete fought the conditions in an outstanding way. "I love being in new situations where I rise above my challenge. All I wanted to do was nice turns and the best I could do was just work, work, work to do the best I can do."
First Olympics, first medal for Karl
In the end, this attitude paid of in the final against the other reigning World Champion. But Karl, who had won the Parallel Slalom WCS Gold in Korea, last year, was OK with the result although he opened the door for Anderson with a little riding mistake. "I knew he was very strong. I did a little mistake, and this is enough against Jasey," the 24-year-old summed up.
"I've been working my whole life for the Olympics. It's a great feeling. I'm 24, and I've already won one Olympic medal, and I'm ready for more," Karl added.
Icing on the cake for Bozzetto
Another athlete who had been working his entire career for an Olympic medal is Mathieu Bozzetto. In twelve years of World Cup racing the 37-years-old became the athlete with the most victories - but also one of the top riders with no win at major events.
Decorated with two Silver medals at World Championships (1998, 2003), yesterday's Bronze in his fourth Olympic start is the crowing of an athlete being in the autumn of his career as it is pretty likely that yesterday's battle for third was one of his last races on an international high class riding level.