Grondin & O’Dine win bronze in Olympic debut of mixed team SBX

Eliot Grondin and Meryeta O’Dine will both be going home with two medals in their pockets after winning bronze in a dramatic final of the first ever Olympic mixed team snowboard cross event.

That follows the silver (Grondin) and bronze (O’Dine) medals they won in their individual snowboard cross events in recent days at Beijing 2022.

New to the Olympic program this year, mixed team snowboard cross features teams of one man and one woman. The men go down the course first in four-person heats. The order and time in which they finish directly impacts the start order and intervals of their female teammates who follow.

Eliot Grondin and Meryeta O'Dine hug after winning bronze
Team Canada snowboarders Eliot Grondin and Meryeta Odine celebrate after winning bronze in the mixed teams snowboard cross event during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Saturday, February 12, 2022. Photo by Leah Hennel/COC

As he had in the quarterfinals and semifinals, Grondin got off to a great start in the big final, but this time he couldn’t maintain the lead the whole way down. Nick Baumgartner of the United States crossed first, followed closely by Italy-1’s Omar Visintin and then Grondin, 0.23 of a second back of Baumgartner. Lorenzo Sommariva of Italy-2, was just half a second behind Grondin, setting up the women for a close race.

In that second wave, American Lindsey Jacobellis and Italy-1’s Michela Moioli jumped to the front, but O’Dine was certainly not out of it — until Italy-2’s Caterina Carpano landed on O’Dine’s back as they went over a jump. That collision knocked O’Dine to the snow, taking the Canadians out of the race for gold and silver. But O’Dine got up and made her way to the finish line for the bronze medal. Jacobellis secured the gold for the United States, with Moioli coming through second for the silver.

The day had begun with the quarterfinals. Grondin dominated his heat, crossing the line in first place by close to four seconds, which gave O’Dine that same head start for her leg of the race. But she appeared to have some difficulties during her run, and ended up finishing second. That was still enough to advance them into the semifinals.

In that second round, Grondin again got out to a quick start in his heat. Though it got tight at times with Sommariva, he held onto the lead throughout, handing O’Dine a headstart in her heat of 0.89 of a second. She was challenged by Carpano most of the way down and they ended up in a photo finish for first and second. O’Dine was just edged out for top spot, but the Canadians were moving onto the big final.

Mixed team snowboard cross is still relatively new on the international scene. It has only been contested at the last two FIS World Championships in 2019 and 2021.