Time for the alpine snowboarders to make history

18 February 2014 12:35
If there is a favourite for a medal in one of the alpine snowboarding events it's for sure Patrizia Kummer (SUI)
If there is a favourite for a medal in one of the alpine snowboarding events it's for sure Patrizia Kummer (SUI) -
Miha Matavz

Tomorrow's parallel giant slalom will be the first of two events for the raceboarders at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. A total of 32 ladies and men will give it a first shot for Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

While some of the world's finest already have had some little precious hang around their neck at one of the earlier editions of this major event, some other want to add their names on the list of Olympic medalists.

Tomoka Takeuchi (JPN), who is looking back on one of her best World Cup seasons of her career, can become the first woman from Asia to win a medal in a snowboard event at the Olympic Winter Games.

Takeuchi is the only woman to have finished on the podium more than twice in this season's world cup races in parallel giant slalom, claiming three second place finishes.

However, the biggest favourite for the title is for sure Patrizia Kummer from Switzerland. The race queen won a total of four events (including PGS and PSL) this winter and thus claimed all three Crystal Globes in alpine snowboarding.

The 2013 World Championships PSL Silver medalist is on top of her game right now and thus could bring home Switzerland's second Gold in this event on side of the ladies since Daniela Meuli won in Torino 2006.

Another rider to watch out for is reigning PGS and PSL Junior World Champion Ester Ledecka. The Czech racer has stepped up this season bringing home a full set of World Cup medals already.

Nicolien Sauerbreij (NED) hopes to become the first female athlete to win multiple Olympic gold medals in this event after her gold medal success at Vancouver 2010.

On the men's side of things, all eyes will be on Lukas Mathies (AUT). The Austrian young gun has – without any doubt – been the best and most complete rider of this season and hopes to keep the momentum entering his first Olympics as 2014 World Cup title winner.

In addition, Sylvain Dufour (FRA) and Zan Kosir (SLO) also left their mark in the past six World Cup races and thus are good for a medal too.

On the other hand, veterans Jasey Jay Anderson (CAN) and Simon Schoch (SUI) are targeting their second piece of Olympic bling, while Simon's younger brother Philipp could become the first ever rider to claim a third snowboard medal at the Olympics.

Anderson is the only snowboarder to participate in all five Olympic Winter Games since snowboard was introduced in 1998 and could become the oldest Olympic medalist in snowboarding of any time.

However, 2010 PGS Silver medalist Benjamin Karl (USA) might not have had the season he was looking for so far but is alway a potential podium threat, especially as the four-time World Champion knows how to play the mental game at major events.