Oh so close

When bronze won’t do, sometimes you have to settle for nothing

It’s becoming the most common utterance of these games. “Oh.” Not the vowel that comes before “Canada” in all that spontaneous anthem singing at curling matches and in Robson Square. No, it’s the disappointed cry heard at ski events in Whistler and on Cypress Mountain when Canadians medal hopefuls crash out on the slopes.

The “oh” was particularly gut wrenching today in the men’s ski cross at Cypress. After a slow start by Chris Delbosco in the final race of the day, he found himself trailing in last place. The overwhelmingly Canadian crowd, boisterous all day long, seemed stunned. Then after a burst of power Delbosco swept past Norway’s Audun Groenvold and into third place. For a brief few seconds, the screams from the stands were deafening. But on the second-to-last jump before the finish line, Delbosco made a move for silver. Instead he hurled off the course, smashing his head when he landed.


Then silence. There was some polite clapping when Switzerland’s Michael Schmid claimed the gold, followed by Austria’s Andreas Matt and Groenvold.

After a long delay as he went through an anti-doping test, a visibly shaken and bruised Delbosco faced reporters. Speaking even more quietly than usual, the American-born dual Canadian citizen explained what happened on the course. “I wasn’t content…,” he paused to choke back tears, “I don’t know, third place, I guess it’s all right for some people.”

Delbosco’s performance coach, Dave Ellis, said the athlete has a good track record of coming back from behind, but this time it just didn’t work out.

“Chris is a guy that takes those moves and he’s a guy that pulls off those moves,” he said. “He made a risk and unfortunately it’s another fourth place story for Canada.”

When tallying up how many medals Canada has won during these Games, does it count if we had one, then gave it back?

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