Canada’s Maelle Ricker wins gold in snowboard cross
Canada has its second
WEST VANCOUVER, B.C. (CP) — Canadian Maelle Ricker put on a show for the home crowd Tuesday, cruising to Olympic gold in the women’s snowboard cross at the Vancouver Games.
Ricker, the world’s top-ranked rider, was third in qualifying — despite falling in her first run — and easily won her quarter-final. She also finished first in the semifinal before leading from start to finish in the final.
It was sweet victory for the 31-year-old from West Vancouver, who suffered a concussion after falling in the final four years ago in Turin.
“It was such a motivator for me, it made me work that much harder,” she said of the Turin experience.
Deborah Anthonioz of France took the silver ahead of Olivia Nobs of Switzerland.
Ricker waved to the crowd and clapped after stepping onto the podium, celebrating Canada’s second gold of the Games. The gold comes one day after Mike Robertson won silver in the men’s snowboard cross.
Canadian Dominique Maltais, a bronze medallist in 2006, failed to survive the qualifying round.
American Lindsey Jacobellis, who paid the price for hot-dogging in Turin by having to settle for silver instead of gold, won the consolation final but refused to speak to the media afterwards.
Four years ago, Jacobellis was metres away from winning gold when she decided to celebrate, grabbing her board while going over a jump. She caught an edge and crashed, allowing a Swiss rider to take the gold.
Jacobellis got back up to claim the silver, but has never been able to escape the hotdog label.
This time it was incidental contact with Ricker that was her downfall in the semifinal. The two launched in the air and made contact as they landed, with the American forced off at an angle. She couldn’t recover.
“I didn’t feel our boards come in contact,” said Ricker. “I just tried to stay on my line and continue what I was doing.”
Ricker is competing in her third Olympics. The former halfpipe rider came fourth in snowboard cross and 23rd in the halfpipe in Turin. She was fifth in halfpipe at the 1998 Games in Nagano.