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Ski cross gold for Switzerland's Michael Schmid

Switzerland's Michael Schmid

Stunning Schmid wins ski cross gold

Switzerland's Michael Schmid became the first Olympic champion in ski cross with an imperious ride in Vancouver.

The World Cup leader went ahead off the start and reached the finishing line without any contact for a trouble-free win in the only new event at the Games.

Austria's Andreas Matt won silver, while Norway's Audun Groenvold trailed by some distance in third.

Canada's Christopher Delbosco looked set for bronze until he crashed in the closing stages trying to catch Matt.

The partisan crowd at Cypress Mountain groaned when the home favourite lost his balance while coming off the second-to-last jump.

The 25-year-old Schmid, however, avoided the mayhem behind him and justified his billing as pre-race favourite.

He had qualified for the final round with the quickest time and is top of the World Cup standings this season after two wins.

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"It's amazing, I don't find words for it. We had a lot of fun out there," said Schmid, who raised both arms in the air after he crossed the finishing line. "The start was very important."

A sell-out crowd were treated to some heart-stopping crashes and pulsating races prior to the final as competitors tried to get to grips with a course full of challenging bumps, jumps and turns.

In the day's opening race, America's Daron Rahlves was involved in a spectacular crash when the 36-year-old, one of the United States' most decorated downhillers, collided with France's Ted Piccard and landed hard on his back.

He got up, skied to the finish, then writhed around in pain at the bottom - a painful end to both his day, and his career.

Ski cross

Ski cross make debut at Winter Olympics

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see also
Winter Olympics weather
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Snow shifted to Olympic ski site
02 Feb 10 |  Freestyle skiing
GB ski-cross racer on the new Olympic sport
07 Dec 09 |  Freestyle skiing

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