Dominant Czech Samkova wins cross gold

Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:18am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Czech Eva Samkova's searing pace helped her avoid the rough and tumble of the pack and dominate the snowboarding cross final on Sunday to win the gold medal at the Sochi Olympics.

The 20-year-old, sporting a fake moustache drawn on her top lip for good luck, had the top time in the morning seedings runs and simply dominated her quarter and semi-finals over the jumps and rollers of the Extreme Park course.

There was to be no change in the final and she had established a lead of some 10 meters by the time she was a third of the way down the hill.

Surviving a slight wobble at one turn around halfway, she held her nerve over the huge final hill to cross the line well clear of the field.

Tears of joy flowed as Samkova waited to be led to the podium as her country's first Olympic champion in a snowboard event and first gold medalist of the Sochi Games.

"I knew that if she didn't make any mistakes, she'd get it," said her coach Jakub Flejsar.

"She's the best in sucking down the jumps and pushing the rollers. She's got fast legs and good timing. It was actually pretty boring but we liked that."

Dominique Maltais of Canada claimed silver to add to the bronze she won in Turin eight years ago having earlier made contact with Belle Brockhoff to knock the Australian out of the semi-final.   Continued...

Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic reacts during the women's snowboard cross semi-finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 16, 2014. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez