A foot or two decided Olympic gold in men’s snowboard cross Thursday as Austria’s Alessandro Haemmerle beat Canadian Eliot Grondin by the nose length of his board in an electrifying big final finish at the 2022 Winter Games.
Haemmerle, a three-time reigning overall World Cup winner, stuck behind 20-year-old Grondin for the first half of the race before overtaking him on the inside of a turn. The two battled it out the rest of the way, and Haemmerle threw his board across the finish line first to take the victory.
Omar Visintin of Italy took bronze, while No. 2 seed Julian Lueftner, Haemmerle’s teammate, finished fourth and off the podium.
American Jake Vedder reached the semifinals but took third in his race. The 2016 Youth Olympic gold medalist and 2018 junior world champion was a late addition to the U.S. team, replacing an injured Alex Deibold, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist.
Earlier in the quarterfinals, Vedder knocked out teammate and medal contender Nick Baumgartner, who at age 40 would’ve become the oldest snowboarder to reach an Olympic podium had he done what the top three riders did.
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SEE MORE: Men’s Snowboard Cross Finals
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