This American Just Won Gold—for Russia

Vic Wild didn't get support he needed from US, he says

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 19, 2014 11:57 AM CST

(Newser) – Vic Wild is an American, born and raised in Washington state—but the gold medal he won at the Sochi Olympics today was for none other than ... Russia. Why? Wild decided to compete for Russia because his event, men's snowboarding parallel giant slalom, wasn't getting much support in the US, which prefers to invest in other snowboarding events that get more American attention. (ESPN describes Wild's event as "Europe-centric.") "I didn’t have the support I needed," Wild tells ABC News. So he married Russian girlfriend Alena Zavarzina, who he started dating five years ago, gained Russian citizenship, and made the Russian team. The kicker: Zavarzina also medaled today, winning a bronze in the women's version of the event.

Men's snowboard parallel giant slalom medalists, from left, Switzerland's Nevin Galmarini, silver, Russia's Vic Wild, gold, and Slovenia's Zan Kosir, bronze, at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 19, 2014.
Men's snowboard parallel giant slalom medalists, from left, Switzerland's Nevin Galmarini, silver, Russia's Vic Wild, gold, and Slovenia's Zan Kosir, bronze, at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia,...   (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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