Krasnaya Polyana, Russia Australian snowboarder Jarryd Hughes was battling through fog and rain down the snowboard cross course when all of a sudden it was done.
2014 Winter Olympics
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The former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club member was in position to advance in the quarterfinals of Tuesday’s event when a collision with Switzerland’s Marvin James wiped out Hughes.
Hughes wouldn’t advance through the semifinals, and he finished 17th overall.
“I heard him,” Hughes said. “He was like ‘ah,’ and hit me. I mean what are you going to do?”
If anything, the snowboard cross course dismantled preconceived ideas of favorites and became a battle of attrition.
With rain pouring down Tuesday at the course in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, wax technicians were busy all day.
France’s Pierre Vaultier won the gold medal. Russia’s Nikolay Olyunin earned the silver while the United States’ Alex Deibold won bronze.
Deibold, who was a wax technician at the Vancouver Olympics, lives in Boulder.
"It's definitely been really tough, but I remember how hard it was for me back then, and I use that as motivation to get myself where I am today,” Deibold said.
It was clear early on that the snowboarder who could best stay upright was going to have the best chance to medal.
On Sunday, in the women’s event, racer after racer either crashed or went off the course.
"The name of the game after watching the women's was to stay on your feet,” Deibold said. “Today, I just focused on my own game."
That was something Hughes couldn’t manage.
The event was supposed to happen Monday, but it was postponed a day because of fog. Hughes, who spent three winters in Steamboat training with Winter Sports Club coach Jon Casson, was in good position to advance.
Hughes was in second place in his heat when he got tangled up on a big right-hand turn.
At just 18, though, Hughes should have an opportunity to dominate the sport going forward.
“I was ready to go,” he said. “I felt good. It wasn’t that bad. It could have been worse.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham