Fans and competitors declared the first Olympic ski cross competition a smashing success as the skiers savoured their role in Olympic history.
Ashleigh McIvor of Canada thrilled fans from the host country as she claimed the gold medal in Tuesday’s competition. Hedda Berntsen of Norway took the silver medal, and Marion Josserand of France won bronze. The three top finishers predicted growing audiences for the new Olympic event.
“It’s racing in its most natural form,” McIvor told reporters after her winning run. “Skiing in the back country and just racing your best friends from the top to the bottom, that’s what ski cross is all about.”
The first gold medal for men’s ski cross went to Michael Schmid of Switzerland. Andreas Matt of Austria won silver. Audun Groenvold of Norway took the bronze. Schmid, who admitted that he fought tears after his win, urged young skiers to take up the new Olympic event.
“It’s a wonderful sport, and I definitely recommend it,” he said.