Eva Samkova impressively wins ladies SBX Gold
The shooting star from the Czech Republic kept the momentum after winning the last pre-Olympic World Cup race as well as grabbing Silver at the last X-Games storming to Gold in the ladies' snowboard ross event of the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park today edging off Dominique Maltais (CAN) and Chloe Trespeuch (FRA) to second and third.
20-year-old Samkova had already upset the field of 24 ladies in the seeding runs when she nailed it with an outstanding time of 1:20.61 min.
And the three-time Junior World Champion just tied on to her early morning performance when it was time to deliver in the knock-out rounds.
Samkova dominated all of her heats in an outstanding matter, taking over the lead after the first wu-tang and keeping hold to the first spot until the finish line.
Coping best with the Olympic pressure she also stayed faultless in the final heat thus bringing home the first ever Olympic medal in a snowboard event for her home country.
“It's crazy. All the time I've been watching TV at home, just watching the summer Olympics and also the winter. And now I'm also an Olympian. Yeah, it's just crazy,” she said before adding about her race plan:
“I just wanted to be confident with myself. I couldn't imagine this - it was very fortunate for me.”
The winner of the 2013 Winter Universiade Trentino, who once again raced with her painted on mojo moustache – this time in colours of her home country – with which she races ever since her fifth place at the World Champs in La Molina, Spain, in 2011, was also grateful after her historic result.
“I'm very happy and want to thank my team and especially the wax tech. He is the best.” JP Trotter (CAN) had joined the team just before this season.
The waxing specialist had been part of the Canadian team a few years ago and thus helped Maelle Ricker grabbing Gold in 2010 with his expertise.
Ricker, the dethroned champion, who had been racing with a broken wrist had crashed out in today's quarter finals already.
But Dominique Maltais was able to extend Canada’s success in ladies snowboard cross. After claiming Bronze 2006 she became the first ever lady to earn a second medal in this still very young Olympic event.
“It's for sure one of my best days today. I won the bronze medal in Torino (2006) and Vancouver (2010) didn't go well for me - I injured myself and couldn't race that day.
It was the hardest time in my life and I just took the decision to take my life in my hands and just try to improve myself and get myself faster on that kind of course for the next four years until today.”
The current World Cup leader also stated: “The last four years has been like I was on a mission. Everything I was touching, everything I was eating was to be a better athlete, get faster on that course.”
However, she was also lucky when pre-race favourite and second-fastest qualifier Lindsey Jacobellis (USA), who was leading in the semi final round, washed out in a turn and slid right into Maltais' race line.
“I didn't think about it. I had really bad starts today so I had to work myself to make my way through and preparing those passes.
I knew Lindsey was going really high in that bank and she unfortunately crashed and I was going for the inside line. When I saw her starting to slide down where my line was I was like, 'OK, no option I have to go for it and see what happens',” Maltais summed up the situation.
While it worked out for her, it didn't do so for last year's Sochi winner Michela Moioli (ITA) and Alexandra Jekova (BUL) in the finals when the Italian young gun tried to pass the Bulgarian rider on the inside in a tight and exciting battle for Bronze which led to a crash of both.
One man's trash is another man's treasure as Chloe Trespeuch capitalised on the double out of her rivals racing to Bronze and thus her career's biggest success.
The young French rider thus said: “It's boardercross so anything can happen, even 10 metres before the line. I just tried to hang on and pass the line as quickly as possible and remain focused.”
The full results can be viewed here.
Tomorrow will feature the men's race at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park with the seeding runs scheduled for 8:00 CET and the finals for 10:30 CET.