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PyeongChang 2018

Flawless Galmarini clinches men’s parallel giant slalom gold

Switzerland’s Nevin Galmarini produced the perfect race to hold off a determined challenge from the Lee Sang-ho (ROK) in the big final of the men’s giant parallel slalom at Phoenix Snow Park on Saturday 24 February.

A silver medallist in the same event at Sochi 2014, Galmarini crossed the line 0.43 seconds ahead of Lee, who recorded a personal best as he claimed a landmark silver for the host nation. The Swiss snowboarder was a model of consistency throughout the competition, having won all of his heats and qualifying for the final in first place.

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In the small final, Zan Kosir of Slovenia, who missed out on a place in the gold medal race by just one hundredth of a second, defeated France’s Sylvain Dufour.

Perfect day

"Today was incredible. I was feeling so good from the beginning,” said Galmarini, who at 31 was one of the oldest competitors in the field. “I always knew what my challenge was, what I wanted to do. Fantastic that I managed to pull it off at the Olympics, such a perfect day.

The Swiss snowboarder also paid tribute to the home crowd, whose vociferous support for Lee ensured an electric atmosphere at the Phoenix Snow Park.

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"Of course, they were all cheering for Lee and he's a great athlete and a friend too. I was feeling good that there is a crowd, people cheering, no problem at all, it was good."

The 27-year-old said his philosophy going into the competition had been to “go hard” and “ride without fear” and it paid off handsomely.

“I knew I was in good shape. I just wanted to ride without fear. Go hard every turn. [My view was that] if it doesn't work out, then walk away proud. If it works out, even better.

First on snow for host nation

Meanwhile, Lee’s silver represented a historic moment for the host nation, giving them their first ever Olympic medal on snow.

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“This medal is very meaningful because our country got a first medal in snowboard, so I’m very proud,” said the 22-year-old, who is a former junior world champion.

“There are many people who have come here to see me and at first I felt quite afraid because I had to satisfy [them]. But when I started to compete, everything was very cheerful and I was so proud of them and I’m so happy.”

Bronze again for Kosir

For Kosir who matched his third-place finish at Sochi 2014, there was disappointment at missing out on a shot at gold by such a narrow margin, but also a sense of joy at finishing on the podium after a long period recovering from injury.

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“My feelings are little bit mixed,” said the Slovenian. “I’m very happy for the medal… but no gold yet for me and probably one of my last races.

“Three years ago I couldn’t walk and I thought I would never snowboard again… to be on the podium, this is for sure a big success”

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