Michael Schmid, the start of the Ski Cross show
Ski cross made its first appearance on the Olympic programme at Vancouver 2010. As is the case with any new discipline, its arrival generated a frisson of excitement, with Olympic fans around the world getting the chance to see new stars in action and a whole host of new skills and tactics. It was a spectacular and triumphant debut, and the star of the show was Michael Schmid of Switzerland, who overcame the Canadian favourite Christopher Del Bosco to take gold.
Del Bosco was the X Games champion, while Schmid and Austria’s Andreas Matt were also expected to mount strong challenges. In qualifying it was the Swiss skier who set the fastest time, with Del Bosco next quickest. Both made the final, along with Matt and Norway’s Audun Grønvold.
Getting a good start is absolutely crucial in ski cross, with the first few metres often determining the outcome. Schmid had been consistently quick out of the gate and was so again in the final, quickly establishing a lead, with Matt close behind him.
There was no catching Schmid, though. Holding the lead throughout the race, the Swiss showed the required degree of aggressive skiing, speed and precision, and kept his calm with the finishing line in sight to see off his Austrian rival. The major battle was the one between Del Bosco and Grønvold for third. The Canadian edged ahead and then made a last-ditch bid to pass Matt for second only to lose balance and crash out, leaving the Austrian to take silver and Grønvold bronze.