Team ski-snowboard cross member Robin Tissieres (SUI) helped Switzerland to yet another Youth Olympic Games triumph on Tuesday and promptly declared that belief, a change of attitude, and extensive planning are to thank for the home nation’s golden run.
“It’s been a two-year build-up to the YOG and for me life changed,” freeskier Tissieres said after he and his teammates beat Russia into second, with Germany third. “It’s amazing how energised we have been for two years.”
Switzerland’s triumph in the high-octane combined-discipline event was their fifth in five days of action at Villars Winter Park and their ninth gold medal overall. This has not been a surprise for Tissieres.
“People have been talking about the YOG for ages, they have been so excited about this,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s been something to aim for.
“Training didn’t change but mentally I changed. There’s been so much support and I realised I could do it. And if I can go to the YOG, I can go all the way.”
He and his teammates did give the noisy Villars crowd an anxious wait before the celebrations could begin .
Going into the final race the Swiss had a healthy lead over second-placed Russia but a mistake by Tissieres left everyone waiting on the officials to add up the combined times of the two nations. Ultimately, Switzerland grabbed the gold by the slimmest of margins.
“The feeling from the beginning today was amazing, from the team, from the spectators, everyone,” Anouk Doerig (SUI) said.
The silver medal-winning Russian quartet competed against some of their compatriots in the final. Ekaterina Lokteva-Zagorskaia (RUS) and Artem Bazhin (RUS) featured with an Israeli and a French racer in a mixed-nationalities line-up.
“It was pretty comfortable for me and relaxing,” Lokteva-Zagorskaia said after the mixed team finished fourth. “I am really happy Russia won [silver] because even if it is not me who won the medal it is my country and teammates. I am from Russia so I feel this medal is for me as well.”
The German ski and snowboard cross racers were just as jubilant after relying on each other to come through both a tight quarterfinal and semifinal.
“This is the most fun event of all because of the team spirit,” said Niels Conradt (GER), who took silver in the men’s snowboard cross on Monday. “We have been pumping each other up all day. It’s been a good 24 hours.”