SOCHI, Russia -- You can practically imagine Travis Pastrana wishing that U.S. snowboarders Alex Deibold and Trevor Jacob had their wild Olympic finish on his show.
Who knows? Maybe they can re-create it on a future episode of “Nitro Circus.”
It was fascinating theater on a rain-soaked muddle of a course, a sliding photo finish between Deibold and Jacob in the semifinals of men’s snowboard cross on Tuesday morning.
Mere inches separated the teammates fighting for the last spot in the final. Deibold later ended up with a bronze medal. Jacob ended up with a suspected broken ankle.
Pierre Vaultier of France took the gold, and Nikolay Olyunin of Russia captured silver, delighting the home crowd at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Rain and pain, snow and slush, and, well, interesting contact between the teammates, Jacob and Deibold. What more could you ask from this X Games-transplant of a sport?
"We were doing some weird things in the air," Jacob said. "We drag-raced to the finish. It was cool."
Not so cool was the state of his ankle. Jacob, who was raised in Malibu but now lives in Paso Robles, said he felt his ankle pop on the first jump in the semifinal run. He thought there was ligament damage in addition to his self-diagnosed break.
There was no official medical report by late Tuesday afternoon, and he completed another run after the semifinal, the "Small Final." Despite the continuing discomfort, Jacob managed to get off a good line about his level of pain.
"Let’s say it was at about a one, it’s now about a five and in 15 minutes it will probably be about a 10," he said.
Meanwhile, the 20-year-old Jacob indicated that snowboard cross could be in his future. “This is the coolest experience of my life,” he said.
But you can guess Pastrana and boys are beckoning. After all, there are presumably new mountains to climb in the world of extreme sports. Pastrana weighed in on Monday night with some encouragement.
"He texted me last night," Jacob said. "He said, 'Hey, go get a medal out there. And remember, like my mom always said, ‘Nobody likes a loser.’
"He said, ‘If you crash and you’re out of contention, you better do a big trick for me at the bottom.’
"Sorry, Travis, my ankle’s broken."
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