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Parallel grand slalom spoils go to Netherlands

February 26, 2010 |  3:43 pm

They should be giving out awards to survivors of that rain-soaked mess at Cypress Mountain.

The No. 1 survivor turned out to be snowboarder Nicolien Sauerbreij of the Netherlands, who won the women's parallel giant slalom event, surviving a tiny first-run deficit to beat Ekaterina Ilyukhina of Russia.

Nightmarish conditions, to be sure. There are two runs in the final rounds, and skiers go head-to-head and switch sides for the second heat. 

It's funny, but the person best equipped to handle the conditions on Friday afternoon had been dealing with nightmares of failure.

"It is so hard in this weather to concentrate on yourself," Sauerbreij said to reporters in the mixed zone. "This week, I would sometimes dream of a bronze medal, and I had to say, 'No, no, gold.'"

The lone U.S. entrant was Michelle Gorgone, who made it into the afternoon session before losing to Ilyukhina. Gorgone, who was 22nd at the Olympics four years ago, finished 13th.

"It's pretty gnarly in there," Gorgone said. "I felt I had a good time, and then I'd make a mistake. And then I'd have a good time again, and then I'd make another mistake."

-- Lisa Dillman