LIENZ, Austria — The U.S. men again dominated the winners’ platform at the inaugural FIS World Snowboard Championships in Lienz, Austria Saturday. Jeff Greenwood (Granby, Conn.) won the men’s World Championships giant slalom title, with Mike Jacoby (Hood River, Ore.) taking silver. U.S. Snowboard Team athletes have taken eight of 12 possible medals thus far at the World Championships.
“This is incredible!” said an ecstatic Greenwood, who hasn’t been officially named to the U.S. Snowboard Team, although after Saturday’s performance, a spot on the team is likely, according to U.S. officials. The 20-year-old Greenwood has been travelling with the World Cup team this year, and won his first World Cup giant slalom event in Zauchensee, Switzerland at the beginning of December.
“I didn’t expect to do this well,” said Greenwood. “I was hoping for some top-10 finishes in World Cup competitions maybe, but this is incredible.”
Greenwood was in second position after the first run, trailing first-run leader Jacoby.
“I had to make up some time on Mike, and I wasn’t sure if I could do it,” said Greenwood, who survived a spectacular near-fall in his second run to capture the win. “I was worried after the mistake, but I just kept after it and didn’t stop — I tried to carry my speed, but I didn’t think I lost too much speed there, even. It was crazy.
“I was really relaxed before the second run — almost tired,” continued Greenwood. “I had the strength inside of me, but I was really calm and thought I was ready to do well. But when I got on the hill, I just charged.”
U.S. Head Snowboard Coach Peter Foley set the second-run course, which was a faster, straighter course than the first. “It was a great course,” said Greenwood. “But we set something like this in training the other day, and I had a bad day training, so I was a little worried. And I haven’t had a good day training since I’ve been in Lienz, so I was skeptical about what might happen, but it went well.”
Jacoby, the first-run leader, survived two near-falls in the second run to hang on to a podium spot. “The course is really slick and it took all my strength just to bend my board,” said Jacoby. “I thought I had pretty much lost it on that one-arm turn when I went down, but I managed to just keep going. I didn’t know if anyone else had made mistakes, but the only thing going through my mind was just, “Go down the hill, go down the hill,” until it was over — and that’s what I did.
“It’s really super icy and slick and it’s a difficult course to stay on,” said Jacoby of the race hill, which has been watered down the last few nights to remain icy and firm. “A lot of mistakes were made, but the one who made the least mistakes was Jeff,” said Jacoby. “This Championship is great –I’m glad I stuck through two runs to make it on the podium, and I’m glad it’s one of my teammates standing up there with me.”
The Snowboard World Championships conclude on Sunday with men and women’s parallel slalom competition.
WORLD SNOWBOARD CHAMPIONSHIPS — MEN’S GS
Lienz, Austria — Saturday, Jan. 27, 1996
1. Jeff Greenwood, Granby, Conn., one minute, 50.18 seconds; 2. Mike Jacoby, Hood River, Ore., 1:50.97; 3. Helmut Pramstaller, AUT, 1:51.58; 4. Damien Vigroux, FRA, 1:51.67; 5(T). Ulf Maard, SWE, 1:52.18; 5(T). Dieter Moherndl, GER, 1:52.18; 7. Xavier Rolland, FRA, 1:52.92; 8. Thomas Prugger, ITA, 1:53.25; 9. Darren Chalmers, CAN, 1:53.76; 10. Maxence Idesheim, FRA, 1:54.30; OTHER U.S. RIDERS:: 13. Tom O’Brien, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1:55.12; 21. Bill Enos, Waterville Valley, N.H., 1:59.02; 24. Antonio Davila, Flagstaff, Ariz., 2:02.49; Did Not Finish: Tom Lyman, Whitefish, Mont.; Anton Pogue, Hood River, Ore.; Steve Persons, Whitefish, Mont.; Manuel Mendoza, Whitefish, Mont.