Spectacular crash dashes Del Bosco dreams

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

WEST VANCOUVER — Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Another Canadian crashed on the way to the podium. This time it was Chris Del Bosco, the Sudbury, Ont., resident who is ranked third on the skicross World Cup tour.

Del Bosco was racing fourth in the final of the first ski-cross event in Olympic history Sunday at Cypress Mountain, improved to third and then tumbled before the climactic jump to the finish.

He received medical attention before leaving the course. Two hours after the race, reporters were told he was still undergoing an anti-doping test.

Del Bosco, 27, was the 2010 Winter X-Games gold medallist in January, with two World Cup victories this season. The Vail, Colo., native with dual citizenship previously competed as a national-level alpine skier and mountain biker for the U.S. until drug and alcohol violations derailed his career.

World Cup leader Michael Schmid of Frutigen, Switzerland became the sport’s first gold medallist. He edged silver medallist Andreas Matt of Flirsch, Austria and bronze-medallist Audun Groenvold of Oslo, Norway.

“I was in fourth behind Chris and I was thinking, ‘It isn’t over until you cross the finish line’,” said Groenvold. “I hung on his tail. When you see someone crash like that, it’s a mixed feeling. Chris crashed, I feel sorry, but I was not a part of it.”

Davey Barr couldn’t hide his gap-toothed smile after finishing the consolation final. The 32-year-old from Brackendale, B.C. was called upon as an 11th-hour replacement for teammates David Duncan and Brady Leman, who were both injured training at Cypress Mountain.

The part-time carpenter did the most with the least in the four-at-a-time ski race down a kilometre course. He finished second in the penultimate heat, and sixth overall.

“Everybody else had the two days of training before today,” Barr said. “I managed to get three runs in this morning before the race.”

Inspired by snowboard cross, ski cross was the only sport added to the Olympics for Vancouver 2010. It is a popular TV draw among younger viewers, thanks to the made-for-ESPN X-Games.

“We showed the world today what a cool sport this is,” Barr said. “That’s why we’re out here.”

Reigning world champion Ashleigh McIvor of Pemberton, B.C., leads Canada’s women into their first Olympic ski cross race Tuesday at Cypress.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca

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