Reporting from Vancouver, Canada — The finish line of his long, storied career was a few gates away.
Never mind that Jasey-Jay Anderson probably couldn't see it, not with the blindingly bad conditions at Cypress Mountain.
What was one more hurdle for the 34-year-old veteran Canadian snowboarder?
Anderson overcame a .76-second deficit after the first run and was trailing in the second run against Benjamin Karl of Austria. But Anderson rallied, winning the men's parallel giant slalom gold medal by .35 of a second. American Chris Klug, 37, finished seventh, losing in the quarterfinals to eventual bronze medalist Mathieu Bozzetto of France.
That Klug made it so far was quite an accomplishment considering that he was dropped from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assn.'s program last year, formed his own team and made the Olympics, competing in them for the third time. He was a bronze medalist in 2002 in Salt Lake City a mere 19 months after he had a liver transplant.
Saturday, Klug had the 16th-fastest time in morning qualifying, with 16 racers advancing. He upset No. 1-seeded Andreas Prommegger of Austria in the round of 16. Klug's U.S. teammate Tyler Jewell qualified seventh but had the misfortune of drawing Anderson in the round of 16.
There will be, suffice it to say, a lot of celebrating on Anderson's blueberry farm in Quebec. Anderson is, indeed, a blueberry farmer and had contemplated retirement. But he simply couldn't miss the Olympics in his own country.
Anderson, on Canada's CTV, said he didn't know what to say immediately after his victory, looking stunned at winning his first medal in three Olympics.
"I had so much to make up -- in these conditions, it's virtually impossible," Anderson said, adding that there was a problem with a starting gate. "True athletes thrive on adversity, so I tried to be a true athlete."
Adversity, thy name is Cypress Mountain.
Karl used a descriptive and unprintable term to describe the conditions. The women competed in rain and slush Friday. Saturday, the men had to deal with fog on top of it all, and a couple of snowboarders mentioned that there were technical problems at the start.
"You're swimming all day -- you can't see anything," Anderson said. "You have to rise above that."
Call it swimming with the snowboarders.