When he saw the icy conditions for Friday’s snowboardcross competition at the world championships, Kevin Hill knew he was in for a wild ride.
It all ended well for the Vernon, B.C., resident, who earned his first major international medal.
Hill overcame one of his least favourite courses to finish second to Italy’s Luca Matteotti in the big final of the men’s snowboardcross event.
Hill was runner-up in each of the elimination rounds, a rather dicey position as only the top two advance. In the big final he had to come from behind to assure himself the silver ahead of American riders Nick Baumgartner and Nate Holland.
“I started the day a little unsettled, very excited to race but with extra added pressure from myself,” Hill said. “The course was one of my least favourites in the past few years, more so because of the weather leading to the event with warm weather and then freezing weather.”
Those conditions made for high speeds and icy turns but Hill was in control.
“I worked hard to make it to the final. When the gate dropped I left it on the line and got some luck,” he said. “I’m very excited, I can’t thank the Canadian support team enough and now I’m ready to go get a medal at X-Games.”
Christopher Robanske of Calgary was 27th and Baptiste Brochu of Saguenay, Que., 35th.
In women’s competition, Lindsey Jacobellis of the United States won her fourth world title.
Nelly Moenne Loccoz of France was the fastest starter and led the women’s final before being overtaken by Jacobellis, who also won the word title in 2005, ’07 and ’11.
“I am really happy,” said Jacobellis, who won Olympic silver in 2006. “It just all came together for me. I never won any of the starts. Every race I had to fight. It’s incredible how much this sport has evolved, especially on the women’s side. And I am happy to be a part of that history, and I am still with it.”
Moenne Loccoz took silver and Michela Moioli of Italy won the bronze medal. Olympic champion Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic lost in the semifinals and finished sixth.
Two-time Olympic medallist Dominique Maltais of Petite-Riviere-St-Francois, Que., won the small final for fifth place overall.
“I’m not disappointed with the overall result at all I went for it,” said Maltais, second to the Czech at the Games. “At the level we are riding right now, many of us are in contention for the medals. There was a strong field for the small final and I really wanted to win it. It was a chance to bounce back from my race in Sochi.”‘
In the semifinal, Maltais was third behind Jacobellis and Moenne Loccoz.
Tess Critchlow of Kelowna, B.C., was 14th, Carle Brenneman of Whistler 16th and Zoe Bergermann of Erin, Ont., 23rd.
— With files from The Associated Press