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Swiss win gold, silver in men’s ski cross

Ryan Regez went from downhill skier to apprentice as a structural draftsman to ski cross racer to his latest endeavour – an Olympic gold medalist.

“What a crazy way,” he said of his unconventional journey. “I think it’s more likely to be struck by lightning – twice.”

Regez led a 1-2 finish by Switzerland in the ski cross final on Friday at Genting Snow Park.

The 29-year-old grabbed the lead early and never relinquished it, raising his arms in triumph at the finish.

His teammate, 36-year-old Alex Fiva, won the silver medal and Russian athlete Sergey Ridzik grabbed the bronze.

“It’s kind of incredible,” Regez said. “The whole week of training, I’ve been so nervous and had so much pressure on myself because everyone was expecting me to come here and win.

“Well, and I did.”

Fiva couldn’t catch up to Regez, who opened up a solid lead in the final.

The last thing Fiva wanted to do was take a big risk and possibly cause a crash that would take both Swiss out of the medals.

“When I realised Ryan was in front, I kind of stepped a little off the gas to be sure of not crashing inside of him, and pass somewhere on the flat section,” he said.

“But then I made too many mistakes. I’m definitely happy for him, he’s a crazy cool guy. Really strong skiing.”

It’s now back-to-back Olympic bronze medals for Ridzik.

“I’m very satisfied with the job I’ve done, and I’m very happy with it,” Ridzik said. “I’m very tired and I can barely stand and I want to sit down. It was really hard today.”

As a child, Regez always thought his future was in alpine skiing. But that didn’t pan out how he thought.

So his next option was an apprenticeship as a structural draftsman. Then he discovered ski cross, which paid off in gold.

Does that mean his career as a structural draftsman remains on hold?

“Depending on how well my sports career goes, I don’t have to go back to it,” he said.

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