ZHANGJIAKOU, China (Reuters) -First-time Olympian Ryan Regez of Switzerland dominated the final men’s ski cross race to win gold on Friday at the Beijing Games, while fellow Swiss skier Alex Fiva claimed silver.
Regez led from the start, zooming over the technical section at the start of the course and pumping his long legs to put plenty of distance between himself and the rest of the pack.
Speaking to reporters after the final, Regez, 29, said his face was “sore” from smiling so much after winning gold.
“You just ski as hard as you can and when it’s the finish line you can see the shadow on the floor as it’s sunset hour, and you don’t see anyone (else). So I knew this is going to be it. It was incredible. I just won,” Regez said.
Silver medallist Fiva said he was given a warning after his quarter-final race where he battled Italian Simone Deromedis.
“I don’t know why I got this warning,” Fiva said, adding there needed to be more discussions about such judgements after fellow Swiss skier Fanny Smith was relegated to fourth place on Thursday for an infringement in the women’s ski cross final.
“Still, it’s so cool for Swiss ski cross … after yesterday that we have a double victory,” the 36-year-old said.
Sergey Ridzik of the Russian Olympic Committee, who won the bronze medal at the Pyeongchang Games four years ago, had to again settle for third place on Friday.
Heavy snow overnight complicated the event at the Genting Snow Park, with skiers flying over fresh powder on a course that is more than 1,200 metres long and features big jumps, rollers and high-banked turns.
The air temperature fell to -15.8 degree Celsius (3.6°F) ahead of the final.
(Reporting by Winni Zhou and Mari Saito; Editing by Ken Ferris and Himani Sarkar)