Team USA has been dominating the snowboarding events at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and the U.S. took home another medal in the sport Tuesday.
Vermont’s Alex Deibold survived a foggy, soggy course to capture the bronze medal in snowboardcross. Deibold earned a spot in the finals by a nose, crossing the finish line in the semifinals just before teammate Trevor Jacob.
“The name of the game after watching the women’s [race on Sunday] was to stay on your feet,” Deibold said, via Yahoo! Sports.
Deibold did just that, outlasting crashes and falls to become the lone American to make it to the finals. The Manchester Center, Vt., native has been to the Olympics before — but not as an athlete. Deibold attended the Vancouver Winter Olympics four years ago as a snowboard technician — waxing, scraping and grinding snowboards into shape for America’s top riders.
“It was grueling work but a situation I was grateful for,” the 27-year-old said, via ESPN. “But it gave me motivation over the last four years. When I was standing on the podium, wrapping that flag around myself, all that sacrifice and work didn’t seem like a damn thing.”
Deibold’s third-place finish capped off a difficult, rain-soaked day for the Americans, one that began with veteran Nick Baumgartner and seven-time Winter X Games champion Nate Holland being eliminated in their opening heats. The reward was sweet for Deibold.
“There’s definitely been times when I’ve doubted where I’m at, at the end of the season when you’re broke and trying to figure out how you’re going to pay rent,” he said. “But I’ve never done it for the money. I’ve always done it for the love.”
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