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Sochi Olympics: Jean Frederic Chapuis leads French sweep of ski cross

Jean Frederic Chapuis, Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol of France sweep ski cross.

February 20, 2014|By Lisa Dillman
  • Bronze medalist Jonathan Midol, left, gold medalist Jean Frederic Chapuis, center, and silver medalist Arnaud Bovolenta, right, swept the men's freestyle ski cross event for France on Thursday.
Bronze medalist Jonathan Midol, left, gold medalist Jean Frederic Chapuis,… (Loic Venance / Getty Images )

SOCHI, Russia — The fab threesome of U.S. freeskiers Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper landed on the cover of a limited-edition Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal box after sweeping the slopestyle medals.

Now that a French trio of ski cross racers — gold-medalist Jean Frederic Chapuis, silver-medalist Arnaud Bovolenta and bronze-medalist Jonathan Midol — have swept, what does that mean for their commercial futures in France?

Probably very little. Instead, the skiers will be happy if it brings their sport more recognition.

FRAMEWORK: Best images from Sochi

"It's my first podium," said the 26-year-old Midol. "First podium for Arnaud too. We are not like every World Cup at the top. I hope it is getting better. It is not so big in France.

"They are some pretty good results before … but it's not so [big]. There is no channel, just Eurosport 2. No audience. So I hope it is getting better."

Midol had his younger brother, Bastien, in his thoughts on Thursday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Bastien, 23, crashed in a ski cross race in December at San Candido, Italy. He had been considered a contender as well, having won a silver medal at the World Championships in 2013 at Voss, Norway.

"He's doing well," Midol said. "He has no pain. He crashed very bad.... Yesterday, he sent me a text. I [was] thinking about him during the race."

The four-skier final featured the three French racers and Canadian Brady Leman, who is from Calgary. Leman, a former Alpine racer, made the switch to ski cross in 2008 and suffered a broken leg the day before he was scheduled to compete at the Olympics in Vancouver.

In the final, he didn't get the start he wanted and fell late in the race while jockeying for position. The only American in the field, John Teller of Mammoth, fell in the first knockout heat and did not advance.

Twitter: @reallisa

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