Host City: Salt Lake City, United States
Venue(s): Park City Mountain Resort, Park City, Utah
Date Started: February 14, 2002
Date Finished: February 15, 2002
This was the Olympic début for parallel giant slalom, as in 1998, a giant slalom run as a two-run time trial had been conducted. In this event, 32 boarders started with 16 advancing to the single-elimination match racing rounds. The favorite was Sweden’s Richard Richardsson, who had won the 1999 World Championship. The qualifying was led by Swiss boarder Gilles Jaquet, with his teammate, Philipp Schoch, barely making the elimination runs, finishing 15th. In the match racing, the slope was very icy, and in only one run did both boarders finish cleanly. In the first round, Schoch recorded a major upset, defeating Alexander Maier, brother of top alpine skier Hermann “The Hermannator” Maier. Against Schoch, Alexander Maier fell in the first run, and did not finish the second run. The final eventually matched Schoch and Richardsson. Schoch had never made the podium at a major international competition, and Richardsson was expected to win easily, and he won the first run by 0.24 seconds, wearing the helmet of Fritz Strobl, who had won downhill gold in alpine skiing a few days earlier. But on the second run, Richardsson almost fell several times, did not finish, and the gold medal went to Philipp Schoch. Schoch’s brother, Simon, also competed, placing 25th in qualifying. They would return in 2006, and make it to the final together, where Philipp Schoch would defend his title.
The bronze medal came down to America’s Chris Klug against France’s Nicolas Huet. Huet was the reigning World Champion, but was the last qualifier. In the first round against Jaquet, he advanced when Jaquet fell twice. Klug won both races to earn the bronze medal, but had a scare before the second run when the buckle on his left boot broke. A quick fix with duct tape solved the problem for him. For Klug, it was a minor obstacle compared to his previous health issues. In 1993 he was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a liver disease that leads to liver failure. After seven years on the transplant list, he received a liver transplant in 2000. He was back training within two months of that operation and is the only Olympic medalist to have competed after being a transplant recipient.
|3||Chris Klug||29||United States||USA||Bronze|
|20||Jeff Greenwood||26||United States||USA|
|27||Peter Thorndike||24||United States||USA|