Julia Dujmovits produced a remarkable comeback to claim gold in the first ever women's Olympic snowboard parallel slalom. The Austrian outsider overturned a seemingly irreversible deficit from the first run of the final against Germany’s Anke Karstens, to snatch victory at the death.
The 26-year-old wiped out a huge 0.72-second advantage held by Karstens after the first run, and looked likely to have to settle for silver.
However, an absolutely blistering second run, in which she even appeared to recover from a momentary slip, saw her cross the line fractionally ahead of the German, and it quickly emerged that she had secured the overall victory by just 0.12 seconds.
In the small final, Amelie Kober of Germany narrowly held off an onslaught from Italy’s Corinna Boccacini to claim bronze.
Never say die
It was the first time that Dujmovits had ever won an elite level parallel slalom race. Her two previous podiums in major international competitions had come in giant parallel slalom: silver at the 2013 FIS World Championships and gold at the Winter Universiade in Trentino (ITA) the same year.
But in Sochi she took her slalom boarding to a new level. Fifth fastest in the qualification round against the clock, the Austrian then picked off her opponents in the 1/8, quarter-final and semi-final rounds, her confidence growing with each victory.
And she was understandably elated to find herself on top of the podium in Sochi.
“I don't know what to say, I'm just so happy and thankful,” said the Austrian, who was clearly not used to deliver a victory speech. “To be Olympic champion today is amazing.”