Winter Olympics: Schmid takes gold in 1st Olympic skicross event
WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Olympic debut of skicross began with America's grizzled old veteran landing hard on his back and ended with one of Canada's newest favorites tumbling uncontrollably through the powder.
When all the bumping and crashing was over, Michael Schmid of Switzerland was still standing — the first Olympic gold medalist in a sport that entertains the fans as much as it hurts the skiers.
Schmid easily outpaced Austria's Andreas Matt and Norway's Audun Groenvold in the final, while Chris Del Bosco, a Colorado resident who competes for Canada, let third place slip when he got too aggressive on the next-to-last jump and went flailing, then falling out of contention.
Much earlier, American Daron Rahlves lost any chance for the medal that has eluded him in three previous Olympics in Alpine.
One of the United States' most decorated downhillers, the 36-year-old Rahlves collided with France's Ted Piccard and landed hard on his back in the day's opening race. He got up, skied to the finish, then writhed in pain at the bottom — a painful end to both his day, and his career.
"That's it for me," he said.