Sil­ver medal win bit­ter­sweet

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

WEST VAN­COU­VER, B.C. (CP) — Cana­dian snow­boarder Mike Robert­son rode his way to a sil­ver medal at the Win­ter Olympics on Mon­day.

The 24-year-old na­tive of Can­more, Alta., fin­ished sec­ond in the men’s snow­board cross at Cy­press Moun­tain.

Amer­i­can Seth Wescott cap­tured the gold af­ter catch­ing Robert­son in the fi­nal few me­tres.

“It was kind of bit­ter­sweet,” said Robert­son. “Ob­vi­ously I wanted to win for sure, but I’m so happy to be sec­ond. It’s amaz­ing.”

Robert­son ad­mit­ted he didn’t have the best fin­ish.

“I def­i­nitely made a mis­take at the bot­tom, and he cap­i­tal­ized, and he’s the win­ner now, and I’m sec­ond,” he said. “But I can’t com­plain. Sec­ond’s amaz­ing.”

Tony Ramoin of France took the bronze while Amer­i­can Nate Hol­land fell out of con­tention early af­ter los­ing his bal­ance.

Rob Fa­gan of Cran­brook, B.C., Drew Neil­son of North Van­cou­ver, B.C., and Fran­cois Boivin of Jon­quiere, Que., were all elim­i­nated in the ear­lier rounds. Fa­gan won the con­so­la­tion fi­nal.

Robert­son, ranked 10th in the world, wasn’t touted as a medal favourite in the event.

“Our team works re­ally well to­gether, and Mikey took the ben­e­fits out of it, for sure,” said Fa­gan. “All of us did. We’re all re­ally proud of how we’re racing.”

Heavy rain and warm tem­per­a­tures in re­cent weeks dam­aged the Cy­press course and snow had to be trucked in. While the board­ers said the con­di­tions were less than op­ti­mal, they in­sisted they could ride in just about any­thing.

The weather also forced or­ga­niz­ers to tem­po­rar­ily close the gen­eral ad­mis­sion sec­tion of the snow­board venue be­cause it was deemed un­safe.

In snow­board cross, four ath­letes race down a nar­row course with the top two in each run ad­vanc­ing to the next round.

The bruis­ing sport, made fa­mous for its NASCAR-es­que smash ups, is big­ger and bad­der than ever be­fore.

Since the dis­ci­pline’s Olympic de­but four years ago, the cour­ses have be­come steeper, the jumps are big­ger and the banks are sharper.

Ear­lier Mon­day, Robert­son was third in the qual­i­fy­ing, where rid­ers race against the clock to ad­vance to the elim­i­na­tion round. Fa­gan came 10th, Neil­son fin­ished 11th and Boivin 15th.

Robert­son is the third Cana­dian in as many days to win a medal at Cy­press. On Satur­day, Jen­nifer Heil won Canada’s first medal of the Games, a sil­ver in the women’s moguls. On Sun­day, Alexan­dre Bilodeau se­cured Canada’s first Olympic gold on home soil, winning the men’s moguls event.

“ That was an amaz­ing mo­ment,” Robert­son said of gold. “I was watch­ing on TV, and I al­most cried. It was so emo­tional. The whole crowd was just cheer­ing, it was crazy. I had so many but­ter­flies in the stom­ach. I was so ex­cited to com­pete af­ter watch­ing that one hap­pen.”

He was a cool cus­tomer on Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to Fa­gan.

“He’s a very cool cat,” he said. “He’s very mel­low, you won­der if he’s even re­motely in the room.”

Mike Robert­son

The Cana­dian Press

Gold medal­list Seth Wescott, right, of the U.S., and sil­ver medal­list Mike Robert­son, of Canada, come over the last jump dur­ing the men's snow­board cross fi­nal at the 2010 Van­cou­ver Olympic Win­ter Games at Cy­press Moun­tain in West Van­cou­ver, B.C., Mon­day.

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