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Alex Deibold takes bronze for U.S. in snowboard cross

Snowboard - Winter Olympics Day 11

competes in the Men’s Snowboard Cross Semifinals on day eleven of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Rus

Mike Ehrmann

Many expected a U.S. snowboarder on the podium in snowboard cross, but Alex Deibold wouldn’t have been the first name that came to mind. He was the one who did it, however, as he claimed bronze on Tuesday.

France’s Pierre Vaultier won gold while Nikolay Olyunin grabbed silver.

Rain and even a little leftover fog created some additional obstacles in the competition, but the inherent unpredictability of the event really came through.

There’s something fitting in Deibold crashing to a photo finish for third place with fellow U.S. snowboarder Trevor Jacob to make it through the semifinal round. Expected U.S. contenders Nate Holland and and Nick Baumgartner bowed out early in the event.

For Deibold, it’s quite the story, as he certainly paid his dues to make it. USA Today’s profile captures that journey, which paid off with today’s bronze.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins