Russia goes Wild over giant slalom gold

Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:18am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - American-born Vic Wild won the men's parallel giant slalom gold medal for Russia on Wednesday just minutes after his wife Alena Zavarzina won bronze in the women's event at the Sochi Olympics.

Patrizia Kummer's victory over Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan in the women's final to win gold for Switzerland was inevitably overshadowed as a partisan crowd celebrated Russia's first snowboard Olympic title.

As "Good Vibrations" played over the loud speakers following his win over Swiss Nevin Galmarini, Wild wrapped himself in a Russian flag handed to him by Zavarzina.

"It's incredible to win it along with Alena, for us to both have success on the same day is truly incredible," Wild told reporters.

"I don't know how this happened, it's too good to be true, I might wake up soon. It feels like a dream."

Wild, who was born in Washington State but changed allegiance to Russia in 2011 after marrying Zavarzina, trailed Galmarini after the first run of the final but edged ahead in the second and claimed victory when the Swiss slipped.

"I'm so stoked to win it for Russia, those people out there were rooting so hard, it feels awesome," Wild added.

"Russia is the country that's given me the opportunity to win a medal. If I was still riding for the USA, I'd be back home with perhaps some mediocre job doing something mediocre."   Continued...

Russia's Vic Wild competes during the men's snowboard parallel giant slalom qualification run at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson