WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia | Even in a sport as wild and unpredictable as snowboardcross, it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise to see the Olympic champion defend his title.
But where in the world did Seth Wescott come from on Monday?
Heading into the last half of the final, Wescott was barely within shouting distance of Canadian Mike Robertson. Then, out of nowhere, Wescott closed the gap, overtook Robertson and held him off at the finish. It was Wescott’s second straight gold medal, and America’s second of these Winter Olympics.
“That kind of gap, most people — well, really, nobody, overcomes that,” said Peter Foley, America’s snowboard coach.
Somehow, Wescott did.
Just as he overcame jamming his femur into his pelvis in a race in December, an injury that was, he assures, every bit as bad as it sounds.
Tony Ramoin of France won the bronze, finishing ahead of American Nate Holland, whose spinout about a third of the way down the course set up what seemingly looked like a breeze for Robertson.
Wescott made up the distance over a series of four turns and five jumps that can sap speed if not handled correctly — and win the gold if they are.
“I’d made some mistakes in there earlier in the day,” Wescott said. “I knew if I came back and executed it correctly, I could do it. It wasn’t a situation of looking for a miracle at all.”
Wescott crossed the line first and fell to the ground, then draped the American flag across his shoulders — the same flag he held four years ago in Turin.
The Associated Press