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It’s said that the worst place to finish in the Olympics is fourth — just off the medals podium. But River Radamus of Edwards was philosophical after finishing there in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics giant slalom on Sunday (late Saturday in Colorado).
“It’s tough to swallow right now for sure, but I know in my heart that I did everything I could to prepare for today, I couldn’t have asked for more,” Radamus said, according to NBC Sports.
“I could have hoped for more, but I’m really proud of my work today and throughout the season, so I’ll take pride in this result and carry it forward into the next races,” Radamus added.
It was a career best result for Radamus, who turned 24 on Saturday. He started off the current World Cup season with sixth-place result in Soelden, Austria.
In Sunday’s snow-delayed Olympic GS, Radamus’ final two-run time was 2:10.95, just .26 seconds behind France’s Mathieu Faivre, who won the bronze medal with a time of 2:10.69.
Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt won the gold at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre on Sunday, battling heavy snow — the first of these Games — and a 75-minute delay between the first and second runs. His two-run winning time was 2:09.35.
Zan Kranjec of Slovenia won silver with a two-run time of 2:09.54.
Radamus, the son of former Ski and Snowboard Club Vail executive director Aldo Radamus, was ninth after the first run, improving his position by five slots in the final “bumpy” run.
Here’s the press release from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team:
River Radamus led the United States men in Saturday’s giant slalom, finishing just off the podium in fourth. Tommy Ford earned 12th, a monumental finish for his first race back post-injury in 2021.
Saturday, Feb. 13, saw a large amount of snowfall in Yanqing, China, the most the region has seen in one day in eight years, and conveniently on the day of the men’s giant slalom during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. While other events were getting canceled, the men’s race was still on, but the athletes were ready to fight for Olympic gold no matter the weather. Ski racing is unpredictable, and the athletes never know what weather they’ll get on race day.
Radamus, who celebrated his 24th birthday just one day before his Olympic debut, sat in sixth, headed into the second run. Excessive snowfall on course tripped up many athletes on their hunt for the finish, but Radamus was able to hang on while carrying enough speed to grab a career-best result.
“My approach this whole season has been process-based; focusing on the things I can control, making sure I take the steps to prepare, and knowing that this is an outdoor sport and things happen on race day, and I can’t control the outcome,” said Radamus.
He’s come close to the podium results he craves before. In Alta Badia and Soelden, Radamus finished sixth, matching his World Cup career-best twice in the 21/22 season. But in the Olympics, he pushed hard enough to do even better. Sporting a zebra-stripe hairdo and
“(Fourth is) tough to swallow right now, but I know in my heart that I did everything to prepare for today. But pressure is a privilege,” Radamus said, “and I tried to relish in it and execute as hard as I could. I didn’t want to back off, I wanted to make sure that I left everything I had on that course, and I did that and then some.”
For Ford, competing in the Olympic Games is a milestone in his recovery. In 2021, a hard crash near the finish of the Adelboden giant slalom knocked him unconscious. He was subsequently airlifted off the course for evaluation. Soon after, doctors discovered he obtained a concussion, two torn ligaments in his right knee, a shredded meniscus, a broken tibia plateau, and a broken left wrist. He needed four surgeries to repair the damage. Headed into the Games, Ford was not sure he would be ready to compete, let alone finish two runs given the conditions.
Yet ever since, Ford has been working hard on the road to recovery and training diligently on snow back in the United States since November. So much so that getting back out in a giant slalom course on race day felt “like riding a bike.”
“I’m just happy to be alive and skiing and out here,” said Ford. “There’s part of me that knows I can win a medal here, but (now) it’s a different time and I’ve learned a lot in this past year.”
Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt walked away with giant slalom gold, followed by Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec in silver, and France’s Mathieu Faivre in bronze. Faivre finished 0.26 ahead of Radamus in fourth.
Ryan Cochran-Siegle, silver medalist in the men’s super-G, did not finish his first run. Luke Winters also did not finish his first run but has the men’s slalom to look forward to on Tuesday, Feb. 15. Winters will be the sole representative of the United States in Tuesday’s slalom.
Men’s giant slalom
HOW TO WATCH
*All times EST
Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022
2:35 a.m. West Coast Encore – Women’s Aerials Final (freestyle), Women’s Big Air Final (snowboarding), Women’s Downhill (alpine), NBC Broadcast
9:15 p.m. Alpine Skiing – Men’s Slalom, First Run, National Alpine Skiing Center, Yanqing District, Beijing, CHN, NBC Broadcast, Streaming Peacock, NBCOlympics.com
Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022
12:45 a.m. Alpine Skiing – Men’s Event Slalom Run 2, National Alpine Skiing Center, Yanqing District, Beijing, CHN, NBC Broadcast, Streaming Peacock, NBCOlympics.com
2:35 a.m. West Coast Encore – Alpine Skiing – Men’s Slalom, National Alpine Skiing Center, Yanqing District, Beijing, CHN, NBC Broadcast
6:05 a.m. Primetime – Alpine Skiing – Men’s Slalom, National Alpine Skiing Center, Yanqing District, Beijing, CHN, NBC Broadcast