By Jack Tarrant
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – Canada’s Brady Leman edged out Switzerland’s Marc Bischofberger to claim victory in a dramatic men’s Olympic ski cross final on Wednesday.
Olympic Athlete from Russia Sergey Ridzik and Canada’s Kevin Drury collided in the final but Ridzik was able to get up and take bronze.
“It feels unbelievable,” the 31-year-old Leman told reporters. “It was a crazy day with some tough racing and so it is amazing to come out on top at these Games.”
Drury recovered from his fall and crossed the finishing line, although he was given a “Did Not Finish” classification.
Leman, who finished fourth in Sochi four years ago after crashing in the final, hopes Drury can do something similar in Beijing in 2022.
“We showed we battled hard today, Team Canada. Right now we are the best nation in the world in ski cross and have been for a couple of years,” Leman said after claiming Canada’s third gold medal from a possible five in ski cross events at the Olympics.
“I wish Kevin could have been with me on the podium but maybe next time he can have the same feeling that I do now after being fourth at a Games,” Leman added.
It was a dramatic competition as several athletes suffered serious falls.
The scariest moment came in the final heat of the first round as Canada’s Christopher Delbosco launched off a jump before landing heavily on his back.
He received lengthy medical treatment but was seen raising his arms as he was carried off the course on a stretcher before going to hospital for treatment on a damaged pelvis.
There was no French skier in the final four years on from a podium clean-sweep in Sochi.
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant,; editing by Ed Osmond)