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Baumgartner Fourth, Dierdorff Fifth in PyeongChang Snowboardcross

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
February, 15 2018
Nick Baumgartner (blue) and Mick Dierdorff (black) compete in the snowboardcross big final Thursday. (Getty Images - David Ramos)
Nick Baumgartner (blue) and Mick Dierdorff (black) compete in the snowboardcross big final Thursday. (Getty Images - David Ramos)

Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, Mich.) and Mick Dierdorff (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) battled through multiple crash-filled heats to race in the medal round of men’s snowboardcross at Phoenix Snow Park on Thursday. Both finished just off the podium in fourth and fifth. It was a career-best Olympic finish for Baumgartner, a three-time Olympian, and an impressive showing for first-timer Dierdorff.

Baumgartner and Dierdorff rode in the same semi-final heat and both suffered crashes midway down the course. Both were able to get back up and, due to other crashes, crossed the finish line in second and third to make the big final.

“From when I was 12 years old starting this sport, I've always been told that the race is never over - when you go down you get back up and finish,” said Dierdorff. “That paid off today and I got into the final heat of the Olympics.”

In the big final, both riders missed their starts but planned to execute some passes farther down the course. Unfortunately both Baumgartner and Dierdorff carried a lot of speed into a jump between turns two and three and went deep, wiping out on their landings.

Despite missing the podium, Baumgartner and Dierdorff were both satisfied with their performances on the world’s biggest stage.

“I'm proud of how I competed,” said Baumgartner, with his 13-year-old son Landon by his side. “My kids not disappointed with me, so how can I be disappointed. I crashed, but that's part of the game. Sometimes you gotta pay to play. I’m walking out of here with fourth place, my best finish yet. My son is here to enjoy it with me - it’s a proud moment.”

“I go out here every day to try and win the race,” said Dierdorff. “I know how proud all my supporters are. Coming down to the finish and getting to see all my friends and family who came out here, I don't know if I've had a better feeling in my life. That made it all worth it.”

France’s Pierre Vaultier took home the gold followed by Australia’s Jarryd Hughes with the silver and Spain’s Regino Hernandez with the bronze. USA’s Hagen Kearney (Telluride, Colo.) missed advancing to the semifinals and finished 13th. Jonathan Cheever (Sagus, Mass.) was 28th.

Olympic snowboardcross action continues on Friday, February 16, with women’s seeding rounds at 10 a.m. KST / 8 p.m. EST Thursday and finals at 12:15 p.m. KST / 10:15 p.m. EST Thursday.

Men’s Snowboardcross