Grondin wins snowboard cross silver in photo finish at Beijing 2022

Eliot Grondin has won Canada’s second snowboard cross medal in as many days, taking silver in the men’s event at Beijing 2022.

The big final came down to a photo finish, which showed that Grondin was just beaten to the line by the front tip of the board of Austrian Alessandro Haemmerle. Italian Omar Visintin took the bronze.

At 20 years and 297 days old, Grondin is the youngest ever Olympic medallist in men’s snowboard cross.

Eliot Grondin lifts his hands to his head in happy reaction
Team Canada snowboarder Eliot Grondin wins a silver medal in men’s snowboard cross during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Thursday, February 10, 2022. Photo by Leah Hennel/COC

His medal follows Meryeta O’Dine‘s bronze in the women’s event on Day 5. While she added to a great Olympic legacy of Canadian women in snowboard cross, Grondin is just the second Canadian man to win an Olympic medal in the discipline. Mike Robertson won silver at Vancouver 2010.

Grondin had been the fastest in the seeding runs that set the brackets for the 1/8 finals. He won his heat in the 1/8 finals and then in his quarterfinal, he burst out to an early lead and got to the finish with a huge separation between him and the rest of the racers in his heat. He got off to that same quick start in his semifinal, winning the heat to advance to the big final.

In that big final, Grondin again had an early lead before Haemmerle got past him. But the Canadian never stopped pushing and caught up to Haemmerle right at the finish, coming up just shy of the victory as he fell to the side while trying to shoot his board forward.

Four years ago, Grondin was Team Canada’s youngest male athlete when he made his Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018. Since then, he has risen to the top of his event. He won bronze at the 2021 World Championships and has five career World Cup podiums, including one victory.