Olympic hopes crash hard for Vail’s Del Bosco
WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Some people are happy with bronze, but Chris Del Bosco will never be one of them.
“I guess it’s all right for some people,” said an emotional Del Bosco on Sunday, a fresh black eye and scratches on his face, after crashing while trying to make a pass in the final of men’s skiercross at Cypress Mountain. “But I wanted to give 100 percent for my sport and for my country.”
That country is Canada. Even though Del Bosco grew up in one of America’s best ski towns, the Eagle-Vail resident wore red and black on Sunday as a member of the host nation’s “Eh Team.” The ties to Canada come from his father, but Del Bosco’s desire to win gold for his adopted country are not superficial.
He had embraced his Canadian heritage leading up to these Winter Olympics, rehearsing the lyrics to the national anthem, among other things. All of Canada embraced him right back Sunday, tuning in on TV and populating the grandstands at Cypress Mountain to see him win a medal.
He was about to do just that, but seeing an opportunity to move up from third to second, possibly first, Del Bosco made an aggressive move right before the course’s second-to-last jump. He shot off the ramp off-kilter and slammed down hard on his right side.
A rabid pro-Canadian crowd went near silent in an instant as Norway’s Audun Groenvold swooped in to steal the bronze. Switzerland’s Michael Schmid claimed the gold, Austria’s Andreas Matt the silver.
“I was coming in with some pretty good speed, and once I got into third, was kind of closing and thought I could make a really good move on the last jump and make something happen,” Del Bosco said. “I just got bottomed out. The way the jump was, it’s hard when you’re on the edge to make a good move. Just didn’t work out for me.”
Del Bosco skied down the mountain after medical staff checked him out, then was re-examined at an on-site clinic. His injuries included a bloody nose and the bruised face and soreness on his right side.
“Hit my head a little bit,” said Del Bosco, who reshaped his body heading into these Olympics, adding 30 pounds of muscle. “My shoulder and ribs are pretty sore. I came down from pretty high. But I’m just more frustrated than anything else.”
Dave Ellis, the coach of the Canadian skiercross team, said he was proud of Del Bosco for not playing it safe. There was no second-guessing from him about the decision to try for what he called a “make-or-break” pass.
“That’s why we’re here, right. We’re here to win,” he said. “We’re not here to settle for what was handed to us.”
Del Bosco, in a press conference more than an hour after the race, said nearly the same thing, at points choking up.
“I left it all out there,” he said. “That’s what I came to do. It could have happened in any of the other rounds, maybe. I made it to the final and, I don’t know, I just, I go for it. Some people are happy with just placing, and I’m not one of those people.
“I know that I trained really hard and I put myself in a position to win, and it just wasn’t my day.”
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