Sochi 2014 Men's Boardercross Report - Pierre Vaultier Takes Gold Whilst Favourite Alex Pullin Crashes Out In Quarters

DRAMA AT THE OLYMPIC BOARDER X

Pierre Vaultier was victorious but kept it cool on the finish line
Pierre Vaultier was victorious but kept it cool on the finish line

After the Sochi men’s boardercross was cancelled due to heavy fog yesterday we were hoping that the last (soft boot) snowboard event of the Games might see some of the glorious weather the rest of the sideways-sliding finals had.

The view from February half term.
It is February half term after all.

Not so, rain and patchy fog greeted the riders as they stepped up to the course. Ironically, one of the only two snowboard events without any British riders had the most British of weather.

More anti-homaphobia protests in Sochi, this time from the 'Muricans
More anti-homophobia protests in Sochi, this time from the ‘Muricans

There was drama straight away as controversially-funded and favourite to win Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin from ‘Straya slipped out in the quarter finals after taking a bold line into one of the very first burms. The carnage continued through the rest of the quarter finals, one of our favourites being the three-way pile between Konstantin Schad, Jarryd Hughes and Marvin James in heat three.

There were crashes...
There were crashes…

The semi finals were no different tension-wise; in the first heat Lucas Equibar was disqualified for crashing and forcing a brutal scorpion out of Kevin Hill before ‘Murican team mates Alex Deibold and Trevor Jacob had to scrap it out over a photo finish for a spot in the finals.

Screenshot (367)
…bails…

But somehow the second heat was even more ridiculous, chaos reigned on the track as rider after rider sent it off the penultimate burm sideways, upside down and unconscious. Some people may critise the decision to switch from four-man to six-man racing but you can’t deny, it is a spectacle.

...and slams. The 'Lympics were the pinacle of sporting achievement as ever.
…and slams. The ‘Lympics were the pinacle of sporting achievement as ever.

So the finals. Home boy and crowd favourite Nikolay Olyunin battled it out with Pierre Vaultier the whole way down the course but in the end the victory went to the Frenchman, edging the Russian out on the final jump. This victory was all the more impressive as he has been riding without an ACL, a la Bill Morgan, since December! His team mate and brother of Xavier de la Rue, Paul-Henri, was close to snatching the bronze but a slight edge catch cost him speed and opened the door for Alex Deibold, meaning Team ‘Murica at least got a medal despite missing Seth Wescott and Nate Holland.

Vaultier, just ahead of his Pierres.
Vaultier, just ahead of his Pierres.

Sneaking in in the last event Tim Warwood may have just one the commentary gold for his outrageous remark on Nikolay Olyunin’s semi-final run; ”He couldn’t have gone faster down that track if he was dressed in a bacon suit being chased by a pack of jackals.”

The podium.
The podium.

And that was that for the snowboarding in Sochi (don’t ask us to cover the PGS, that would be like getting a BMX magazine to write up a velodrome cycling competition), now snowboarding can return to the domes, streets, resorts and backcountry and away from the international spotlight. For four years. Enjoy it!

Men’s Boardercross Results

1

Pierre Vaultier

2

Nikolay Olyunin

3

Alex Deibold

4

Paul-Henri de Le Rue

5

Stian Sivertzen

6

Luca Matteotti

7

Lucas Eguibar

8

Kevin Hill

9

Trevor Jacob

10

Hanno Douschan

11

Cameron Bolton

12

Omar Visintin

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