In the snowboard world, Seth Wescott is one of the old guard, even a legend. At ease on the steep virgin slopes of Alaska for freeride sessions, Seth is also a formidable competitor on the track. This can be seen from his United States championship titles in the early 2000s and his participation and medal records at the X-Games.
Once he knew that his favourite event, snowboard cross, was going to become an Olympic event, Seth Wescott set his sights on the 2006 Games in Turin. On the Bardonecchia track, placing third in the heats, Seth was relaxed, with an almost easy ride through to the final. In second place coming out of the first bend, the American avoided the fall that would have ruined his medal hopes. At the half-way stage, he seized the chance to overtake the leading boarder on the inside. He maintained his lead after that and crossed the line in first place, thereby becoming the first Olympic snowboard cross champion in history.
Four years went by, and a new generation of athletes had appeared on the international scene. But for Seth Wescott, aged 33, the passion was still there, and he did his utmost to qualify for the Games and defend his Olympic title. His 17th place in the qualifying rounds was not very encouraging. But once the direct elimination heats began, the Maine-born rider felt increasingly at ease on the Cypress Mountain course. He made good use of his experience, and as the favourites fell, he progressed without a problem.
In the final, the American had a poor start, then made a mistake on the second bend. That left him fourth, and a medal seemed a distant prospect. But the rest of the race was glorious. He neatly overtook his rivals one after the other. The end of the race was exceptional, as he caught up with the local favourite, Canada’s Mike Robertson, and used his speed to overtake him on the last part of the track. A few centimetres were enough for Seth to win his second gold medal.