Mick Dierdorff kicked off a World Championships on home soil with a win in snowboard cross on Friday in Solitude, Utah.
The 27-year-old won each of his heats en route to a victory at his first World Championships after grabbing an early lead in the final. No American man had won a world title in snowboard cross since Seth Wescott did so in 2005.
“That was the best day of my life right there,” Dierdorff said in an interview with NBC’s Tina Dixon after the race. “…This is a moment I’ve dreamed about.”
Dierdorff, who grew up in Colorado Springs, made his Olympic debut in 2018, finishing fifth. He balanced two professions in the lead-up to the Olympics, framing houses part-time while training for the Games.
The Americans brought a strong contingent to Solitude with Dierdorff, three-time Olympians Nick Baumgartner and Nate Holland and up-and-coming talent Jake Vedder. Vedder finished fifth, Baumgartner was eliminated in the quarterfinals, and Holland did not advance from the round of 32.
Five-time world champion Lindsey Jacobellis fell short of a sixth title in women’s snowboard cross after losing speed in the semi-final and failing to advance, ultimately finishing fifth.
The World Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Championships continue tomorrow with ski cross at 3 p.m. and freestyle skiing big air at 9 p.m., both live on Olympic Channel.
We’re not sure what we like more about this little story: The fact that slopestyle snowboard gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg dressed up for last night’s Closing Ceremony even though he wasn’t there, or the hashtag that came with the photo confirmation he tweeted out.
Kotsenburg broke out his official Team USA Closing Ceremony uniform for the occasion, showing his solidarity with his teammates. And you’ll see that hysterical hashtag in the photo below…
#SwagGameStrongerThanHulkHogansBicep…Fantastic. Nothing really more to say than that, right?
But Kotsenburg wasn’t quite done with his Closing Ceremony fun, tweeting another photo of him dressing up like supermodel Kate Upton.
That in turn drew a funny response from his U.S. snowboarding compadre and bronze medalist in snowboard cross, Alex Deibold:
Many expected a U.S. snowboarder on the podium in snowboard cross, but Alex Deibold wouldn’t have been the first name that came to mind. He was the one who did it, however, as he claimed bronze on Tuesday.
France’s Pierre Vaultier won gold while Nikolay Olyunin grabbed silver.
Rain and even a little leftover fog created some additional obstacles in the competition, but the inherent unpredictability of the event really came through.
There’s something fitting in Deibold crashing to a photo finish for third place with fellow U.S. snowboarder Trevor Jacob to make it through the semifinal round. Expected U.S. contenders Nate Holland and and Nick Baumgartner bowed out early in the event.
For Deibold, it’s quite the story, as he certainly paid his dues to make it. USA Today’s profile captures that journey, which paid off with today’s bronze.