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Date
22 Feb 2006
Tags
Turin 2006 , Snowboard , IOC News , Switzerland

Giant Schoch in slalom showdown

Sibling rivalry is as old as humankind. Brothers and sisters often try to outdo each other, pushing each other to greater heights in the process. It happens everywhere, so why shouldn't it happen at the Olympics?


Well, perhaps because it's rare for siblings to both get to Olympic standard at any sport. Rare, but not unknown. Because in Turin, the snowboarding parallel giant slalom title turned into a family battle.

It was four years since Switzerland's Philipp Schoch had won the title. His Salt Lake City triumph was a surprise, because Schoch had never won a major competition before. He only just made it into the final, as the 15th of 16 qualifiers.

Four years on, he had become a more established star name, considered the best in the world at his sport. Far from being the outsider that he was in 2002, he was now the favourite. Among those tipped to challenge him was his brother, Simon, almost exactly a year older..

Simon had also taken part in 2002, but had not qualified for the match racing. But in Turin, the pair qualified first and second, with Simon half a second ahead of his brother.

In the match racing, they again shone, comfortably qualifying for the semi-finals by winning all their races. The brothers were quickly the people to beat.

Philipp won his semi-final with some ease, but Simon's was a greater struggle as he came up against France's Mathieu Bozzetto. Both riders won a race each, and Simon only qualified for the final by the tiny margin of 0.07 seconds.

The final was expected to be a titanic clash between the two. Instead, it was something of an anti-climax as Philipp won both races with some ease. He became the first snowboarder to defend a title.

It was, perhaps surprisingly, the fifth time in Winter Olympic history that siblings had taken gold and silver in the same individual event. The Heaton brothers did so in the 1928 skeleton contest, Phil and Steve Mahre came first and second in the 1984 slalom and sisters Christine and Marielle Goitschel dominated both the slalom and giant slalom in 1964, each winning one gold and one silver.

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