American-born Vic Wild won the gold medal in slalom snowboarding as a Russian. Wild left the country in 2011 after he felt that parallel slalom snowboarding wasn’t a priority for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Wild acquired a Russian nationality after he married his Russian girlfriend Alexa Zavarzina in Siberia.
While the US federation concentrated on events like half pipe and slope style, the Russians were serious about Alpine racing, which created the perfect opportunity for Wild to shift allegiances. Wild admits that he can’t speak Russian fluently or completely understand the culture; he told the Russian federation that he wouldn’t disappoint when he first gained citizenship, and he delivered.
America Happy for Wild
The US snowboarding delegation congratulated Wild for his win, and don’t begrudge him his decision to play for a different red, white and blue. Fellow competitor Justin Reiter tweeted his support for Wild, and Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson was glad Wild made the transition as the US allegedly gave him no support.