The Associated Press KRASNAYA POLYANA (AP)—Facing a nearly impossible deficit against a four-time world champion he’d never outraced, all the unorthodox choices snowboarder Vic Wild made to keep his career alive converged over 30 glorious seconds of perfection.
His banged-up body patched together by the best doctors his adopted country can provide, his perfectly assembled board riding like a lightning bolt, his newfound fans screaming his name and waving a very different kind of red, white and blue, the man who eschewed his homeland for his heart, made Olympic history.
Gold for Russia. Again. And maybe more than a little vindication, too.
Wild rallied to victory in the men’s parallel slalom on Saturday, stunning Austria’s Benjamin Karl in the semifinal then edging Zan Kosir by 0.11 seconds to cap four dizzying days that validated his decision three years ago to marry Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina and move to Moscow with his talent in tow.
The 27-year-old native of White Salmon, Wash., but now residing in Moscow won the parallel giant slalom Wednesday then bookended it with an even more stunning triumph in the Olympic debut of the shorter, trickier parallel slalom race.
The roars of “Vitya” still ringing in his ears after a raucous flower celebration, Wild exhaled; the pressure valve that’s been a fixture in his life since he left the United States was finally released.