Vic Wild celebrates his second gold medal.
Austrian Julia Dujmovits took gold in a thrilling final to the women's parallel slalom Saturday, while Russia's Vic Wild was triumphant in the men's competition.
Anke Karstens had to settle for silver against Dujmovits in the women's final, while fellow German Amelie Kober was on hand to pick up her country's second medal of the event, beating Italy's Corinna Boccacini to bronze.
Replays showed that Boccacini was just one inch from taking silver, but Kober held firm to book a place on the podium.
In the men's competition, Wild and Zan Kosir went to battle in the big final. As Russia looked to regain the top spot in the medals table, Wild was on hand to bag his second gold of the Games after overcoming Slovenia's Kosir by just 0.11 seconds in the second run.
Benjamin Karl of Austria and Italy's Aaron March contested the small final, with the Austrian set free to take bronze after March lost his line in the latter half of the slope. That allowed Karl to ease to a 16.25-second victory in the second run.
Germany's Karstens looked to have paid the price for a laissez-faire attitude in the women's final, but replays show a bump in the snow was to blame as the German appeared to slip halfway down the slope.
Infostrada Sports tweeted of Dujmovits' win and highlighted Austria's current medals haul:
#Sochi2014 Julia Dujmovits wins Austria its first Olympic snowboard gold. Austria now have gold in 9 of 15 winter sports.— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaGold) February 22, 2014
Prior to the final, Dujmovits and Boccacini battled in the first semi-final, with Dujmovits taking first place in both runs with an overall difference of 5.98.
And an all-German semi-final took place soon after, as Karstens overcame Kober by 0.09 seconds to gain her place in the final.
Dujmovits' route to the latter stages had earlier yielded a victory over Alena Zavarzina, while Boccacini overcame Claudia Riegler.
Karstens had already topped German opposition earlier in the tournament, after seeing off Selina Joerg to reach the quarter-finals. She then got the better of the Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka on her way into the last four.
Austrian ski jumper Thomas Morgenstern moved quickly to hunt out Dujmovits after the event, tweeting:
In the men's run, Wild took on Karl in the first semi-final of the afternoon as the Russian looked to continue his dominance from previous rounds.
Karl posted a 1.12-second advantage in the first run to place one foot into the final. However, Wild had other ideas and managed to work the deficit to narrowly win by 0.04 seconds, earning his place in the final and leaving Karl to sweat it out for a bronze medal.
Wild, born and raised in White Salmon, Wash., swapped allegiances after marrying Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal (via The Washington Post's Rick Maese), he said he has no regrets of his decision to compete against his home country, who keep his event as low priority with low-to-no funding.
"I wasn't going to continue banging my head against the wall. I told everybody in the Russian snowboard federation: If you guys take me, you’ll never regret it."
Meanwhile, in the second semi-final, Kosir faced up against March in two runs that saw the former ease to victory in both attempts. In his second run, Kosir had an 11.94-second lead that allowed him to showboat across the line.
The big final saw Wild win over two runs against Kosir, although it was a close-fought battle with an overall advantage of 0.23 seconds in a race that had the crowd cheering at every peak.
Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times added that she had spoken with Wild's mother shortly after the finish, tweeting:
Vic Wild wins again. Just talked to his mom, Carol. Re his first gold, Carol: "I haven't seen him smile that big in years. Years. Years."— lisa dillman (@reallisa) February 22, 2014
Wild earned his second gold of the tournament, returning Russia back to the top of the medals leaderboard.
ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap notes that while Americans may have won 11 golds, they only have nine officially:
Thanks to Vic Wild, Americans have won 11 gold medals in Sochi, but the US has won only 9.— Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) February 22, 2014
The result leaves it all to play for at the top of the medals table as Russia continue to show their dominance on snow with 27 medals in total.
Wild's resilience with the board showed that he still has plenty to offer, having earlier picked up his first gold in the men's parallel giant slalom. The American-born Russian snowboarder can take such form into the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The 27-year-old has also proved his credentials in a number of events, and still at a relatively young age, there's all to play for as Wild continues his dominance in his first Winter Olympic Games.