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Del Bosco put it on the line in ski cross

Crash in final meant no medal but third place wasn’t the goal



Chris Del Bosco could have finished third in Sunday's first ever Olympic ski cross competition after coming back from a weak start to contend for a medal.

Certainly the fans at Cypress Mountain would have appreciated it, as well as a wider Canadian audience desperate to win medals of any colour. But that's not Del Bosco's style - he wanted gold and nothing else would do.

Rather than solidify his hold on third place Del Bosco hit a jump on the bottom third of the course with enough force that it put him within reach of second place and a shot at the gold. But it also threw him too high, too far, and he crashed hard on the course.

Norway's Audun Groenvold skied past into the third place position behind winner Michael Schmid of Switzerland and second place Andreas Matt of Austria. Canada, one of the leading countries in ski cross the past two seasons, could not win a medal at home.

There were some speed bumps along the way for the team, beginning with the overall strength of the freestyle ski team. Because of the number of skiers who also qualified for moguls and aerials, and the limit of 18 skiers for the entire team, the men's ski cross team was limited to just three racers despite the fact that seven had qualified for the Olympics.

Then there was the question of who got to race. Brian Bennett was injured before the Games and was out of contention. Stanley Hayer and Chris Del Bosco qualified easily and Dave Duncan earned the third spot in a qualifier.

Then Duncan was injured in qualifying on Friday, fracturing his collarbone severely enough to require surgery. That opened the door to Brady Leman who was next on the list. Leman was already skiing on a fractured leg and went down hard in training on Saturday morning to end his Olympic dreams. That opened the door for Whistler's Davey Barr.

Despite all the drama, it looked like it was Canada's day. All three skiers progressed past the round of eight (32 skiers) to the quarterfinals, which is where things began to go sideways.

Because of seeding, Hayer found himself in the same heat as Del Bosco, but after Del Bosco took the hole shot there was no room to move and Hayer was boxed out.

Barr finished second in his quarterfinal to advance to the semifinal, where another skier crashed in front of him and ruined any shot he had of advancing to the finals.

Meanwhile Del Bosco found himself in third place in his own semifinal battle after a weak start, but made a daring pass on a corner on the lower part of the course to place second and move to the finals.