With no more halfpipe or slopestyle competition, the snowboarding events at the 2018 Winter Olympics turned to the cross events Wednesday evening.
The big final, the one to determine the podium finishers, consisted of Pierre Vaultier of France, Regino Hernandez of Spain, Nick Baumgartner and Mick Dierdorff of the United States, and Alex Pullin and Jarryd Hughes of Australia
Vaultier was immediately out to the lead, and unfortunately, both Americans and Pullin fell near the end while trying to make up time, so did not finish on the podium.
The win went to Vaultier, with Hughes finishing .27 seconds behind, and Hernandez finishing .38 seconds behind, for gold, silver, and bronze, respectively.
Going into the event, Team USA was not favored to win a medal in the event, though snowboard cross is one of the more unpredictable events in in the Winter Games. Baumgartner is the only returning US Olympian on the team, competing in 2010 and 2014, with a best finish of 20th.
Jonathan Cheever, Dierdorff, and Hagen Kearney were the other American men going into the Olympics. Dierdorff is Team USA’s highest-ranked athlete in the event in the World Cup standings at No. 6 overall.
In the semifinals, Cam Bolton of Australia took a hard fall and suffered a serious wrist injury. That injury was significant enough that the broadcast showed it being heavily taped up, while he was wincing and clearly in pain, looking away as they taped it. But he advanced to the small final anyway, and participated despite a podium not being on the line.
He ended up finishing in last at the small final, which isn’t surprising, but it was great to see him compete. Alessandro Haemmerle of Austria won the small final, which placed him fifth overall.