Kummer lives up to expectations and claims PGS Gold
Pre-race favourite Patrizia Kummer (SUI) stayed on her feet on an icy (morning) and partly bumpy course to win gold in the ladies snowboard parallel giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games after beating red-hot Tomoka Takeuchi (JPN) in the final round at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park which became truly a duel of this season's best riders.
“I still can't believe it. It's crazy,” said Kummer, who had won four out of six World Cup races in the lead up to the XXII Olympic Winter Games.
“I still have the feeling that I have to go up and do another run.”
Takeuchi, who had blistering runs throughout all the rounds leading up to the final, fell about two-thirds of the way into the second run of the final and Kummer continued on to zip across the finish line first.
But despite the fall, Takeuchi was still pleased with the result. Especially as winning Silver made her the first woman from Asia to ever win a medal in Olympic snowboard history.
“Asia is becoming really strong in snowboarding, not just Japan but all of Asia,” said Takeuchi, who had organised two invitational events in her home country in the past, too. “I never expected to become a snowboarder.”
Alena Zavarzine (RUS) won the Bronze medal as a roaring partisan crowd cheered her on against Austria's Ina Meschik.
The 2011 World Champion who had to handle a lot of set-backs due to injury in the last seasons pumped her arms up in the air when she crossed the line then took off her helmet to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd.
“I did all I could. Here is my broken arm and it is moving,” said Zavarzina, who had surgery on her arm last month.
Just five minutes later, she watched as her husband, Vic Wild (RUS) - who used to compete for the United States but is now a Russian citizen - took Gold in the men's snowboard parallel giant slalom.
“Whatever he gets today is gold for me,” Zavarzina said before her husband set off for his final run.
All three of the medallists from Vancouver 2010 were out of the competition before the quarterfinals.
Defending Gold medallist Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED) failed to advance from the 1/8 finals after losing her round by a 0.05 second. 2010 Silver medallist Ekaterina Tudegesheva (RUS) also failed to advance from the 1/8 finals. The Bronze medallist from Vancouver 2010 Marion Kreiner (AUT) and 2013 World Champion Isabella Laboeck (GER) suffered from icy conditions in the morning qualification runs and never even made it to the 1/8 finals.