SOCHI, February 18. /ITAR-TASS/. French snowboarder Pierre Vaultier defeated on Tuesday Russia’s Nikolai Olyunin in men’s cross final race to take the gold medal of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia’s resort city of Sochi.
Winning his first Olympic medal ever, the 22-year-old Russian snowboarder left experienced Alex Deibold of the United States behind with the bronze medal.
Head of Russia’s snowboard federation Svetlana Gladysheva confessed that until the last moment she hoped that Nikolai Olyunin would manage to win gold. “Of course, when Nikolai qualified to finals, we wanted more, and I hoped for gold until the last moment,” Gladysheva noted. “However, of course I’m very glad he won silver. Everyone saw how confidently he was performing in today’s heats. I think Olyunin made a huge blueprint before the parallel events in snowboarding. Good job!”
Olyunin’s silver in snowboarding is the first Russia’s medal in this discipline at the Olympics. Earlier, the only Russian medal in snowboard was won by Yekaterina Ilyukhina. She won silver in parallel giant slalom at the 2010 Olympics.
Nikolai Olyunin was born October 23, 1991, in Krasnoyarsk. At the junior level, he won world championship in 2010 in Italy’s Cardona in snowboard cross. He ranked 17th at the 2013 world championship in Stoneham, Canada. Nikolai debuted at World Cup in September 2009. In this season, his best result was 5th place at series in Vallnord, Andorra. He is silver winner of the 2013 Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy, and champion of Russia’s 2013 tournament in Sochi. Nikolai studies at the Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University. He trains with coach Artur Zlobin. Nikolai started to engage in snowboarding at the age of 8, and before he was fond of alpine skiing.
Pierre Vaultier was born June 24, 1987 in Briancon, France. He took part in 2006 and 2010 Olympics, where he ranked 35th and 9th, respectively. He is two-fold prize winner of the World Cup in snowboard, winner of the cup ranking in snowboard cross of the 2007/08, 2009/10 and 2011/12 seasons. At the 2013 world championship, he ranked 4th.