It's a long road from Klickitat County, Wash. to Sochi. Luckily for Vic Wild, he had a layover in Moscow.
After quitting competitive snowboarding in 2011, the now-27-year-old was presented with an opportunity. If he married his girlfriend, Alonya Zavarzina, he could obtain Russian citizenship and compete for the Russian Olympic team alongside her, according to the Wall Street Journal's Paul Sonne and Rachael Bachman. Unlike the American Olympic team, which is dependent on corporate sponsors that can easily look over the tiny market for parallel giant slalom snowboarding (Sonne and Bachman note that the lone American competitor, Justin Reiter, is semi-homeless), the state-funded Russian team was able to provide Wild with a Moscow apartment and opportunities to train.
Wild told the Russian snowboard federation that "if you guys take me, you'll never regret it." It looks like they haven't, as Wild qualified comfortably and strutted through the four elimination finals comfortably to give Russia its sixth gold medal.
Nevin Galmarini of Switzerland received the silver medal, and Slovene Zan Kosir won the bronze by beating out Patrick Bussler of Germany in the Small Final. Reiter failed to make it out of qualifications.
In the women's final, Wild's Novosibirsk-born better half also made it to the podium. Zavarzina won the bronze medal for Russia, beating out Ina Meschik of Austria in the Small Final. The gold, however, belongs to Switzerland as Patrizia Kummer beat out Tomoka Takeuchi in the Big Final. It is Switzerland's sixth gold and Japan's fourth silver, respectively.